Front-Line Workers Most Affected by Lack of Federal Paid-Leave Policy
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- New data shows more than 800,000 workers in Arkansas were left out of paid leave by gaps in emergency COVID relief legislation.
Jessica Mason, senior policy analyst at the National Partnership for Women and Families, said many of these workers are women with children at home, who can't afford to lose their jobs if they get sick.
"We're talking about 300,000 people, about two-thirds of them women, who are working in front-line industries like grocery and retail, health care and child care, which are essential for protecting our health and keeping our economy going," Mason said.
Organizations representing hundreds of thousands of small-business owners across the country recently signed a letter urging Congress to guarantee paid family and medical leave for all small businesses and their employees during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amanda Ballantyne, executive director of the group Main Street Alliance, said amid the coronavirus recession, small businesses owners don't have the revenue to cover the extra costs of employees who aren't able to work due to family or medical issues, but at the same time are trying to maintain safe workplaces and public spaces.
"In states that have paid family and medical leave, businesses are doing a little bit better, because there is that safety net," Ballantyne said. "Employees are more likely to report exposures because they know they are going to be able to actually have the resources to then pay their bills if they have to stay home from work for an extended period of time."
Ballantyne said the pandemic is a rallying call for the nation to establish permanent structures to provide all working people with the resources they need when they need it.
"We also have, for many years, advocated for a piece of legislation called the Family Act, which would create a national, permanent, social insurance-based paid family- and medical-leave program that would cover all workers," she said.
A poll released earlier this year by the advocacy group Paid Leave for All Action found widespread support for paid sick leave among voters in battleground states who said they would be more likely to favor a candidate if that person supported paid sick leave and the other candidate did not.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Advocates for people with disabilities in New York are pushing for the federal budget resolution to include $400 billion in Medicaid …
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Freshwater mussels are key to keeping the Chesapeake Bay watershed clean, and with more than half of all species now facing …
BUFFALO, Wyo. -- The doors of five historic community halls across Johnson and Sheridan counties were opened this past weekend for 15 people curious …
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Massive wildfires in the Western U.S. and Canada have triggered poor air quality in North Carolina over the past few weeks, and …
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Farmworkers are in Olympia today, calling for stronger protections from extreme heat. The farmworkers union Familias Unidas por la …
BOISE, Idaho -- Rallies are taking place across the Northwest to support salmon, which face dire conditions in the Columbia River Basin. Saturday…
IXONIA, Wis. -- The public comment period has ended, but opponents of proposed natural gas storage facilities in southeastern Wisconsin still hope to …
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvanians are growing worried about the environmental consequences of natural-gas drilling in the state, according to a new …