For Immediate Release: March 14, 2020
NDWA Contact: Nidya Sarria-King, [email protected]
In response to the House passage last night of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, National Domestic Workers Alliance executive director Ai-jen Poo issued this statement:
“The coronavirus pandemic is exposing the gaping holes in our social safety net. Low wage workers, including nannies, house cleaners, and home care workers, have always done crucial work without affordable healthcare, job security or paid time off. Everyone must have basic workplace rights and protections, including the right to paid sick time. When any of us don’t, it affects all of us.
“The Families First Coronavirus Response Act would help slow the spread of the virus and protect workers by ensuring most people are able to take paid sick time during this crisis. However, it fails to include businesses with more than 500 employees.
“Everyone, especially people on the frontlines interacting with the sick and older people, needs to be able to take time off if they’re sick, quarantined or need to care for someone they love, without fear of losing income or employment. Workers should not be forced to choose between putting food on the table and protecting their health or the health of their loved ones. Whether you are the only employee in your workplace or work with more than 500 coworkers, all workers should have paid sick leave.
“The Senate must immediately approve the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and include permanent sick days for everyone in future coronavirus emergency legislation. Congress must also provide additional federal support in the coming days to prevent further spread of the virus and protect the health, safety and security of low-wage workers.”
The deal reached last night on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act would require qualified employers to provide 10 days of paid sick leave during a public health emergency. It would also establish a three-month medical leave for people who have tested positive for coronavirus, are under quarantine, and are not being paid by an employer for their time off. It reimburses employers through a tax credit. This act excludes all businesses with more than 500 employees.
Additionally, this act would ensure free coronavirus testing for the uninsured and provide food assistance for qualified working families and seniors. It would also include an increase in federal spending for Medicaid.
82 percent of domestic workers lack paid sick days, making them more likely to go to work sick or losing their financial stability if they don’t. According to the Home Economics Report, 25 percent of domestic workers fired from their jobs indicate their firing was due to their request to take time off, 22 percent were fired for actually taking time off, and 20 percent were discharged for missing work to take care of themselves or a family member.
This act would represent immense progress for domestic workers, because it has no exclusions based on employer-size, and many domestic workers are in one-on-one employment situations.