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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) took to the Senate floor to call for a Senate vote on legislation to expand paid sick days for workers in light of the spread of the coronavirus. Senate Republicans blocked the vote from moving forward.
Earlier today, Sen. Brown hosted a news conference call to discuss his legislation, which would provide paid sick days immediately to Ohio workers in light of the coronavirus crisis, and in preparation for future public health emergencies. On Monday, Gov. DeWine confirmed the first cases of Coronavirus in Ohio.
This legislation, the Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal Family Care Act, requires all employers to allow workers to accrue seven days of paid sick days and to provide an additional 14 days available immediately in the event of any public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis.
Brown joined senators in sending a letter to Vice President Michael R. Pence on March 6th, urging the White House Coronavirus Task Force to take into account the needs and concerns of frontline workers as it addresses the novel coronavirus public health emergency.
Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery can be found below:
We need to get help to the people who need it NOW:
Parents whose kids’ schools are closed;
People who aren’t getting paid, and have trouble making rent or making their mortgage payments or their student loan payments.
Paid sick days are one of the most important ways we do that. That’s why we need to pass this bill today.
Think about the restaurant workers preparing our food, think about what you do if your child’s school closes down for a week – for so many people, taking a sick day means going without pay, and potentially even losing their job.
And it hurts everyone – even if you’re lucky enough to have paid time off, everybody’s at risk when more people are out and about when they’re sick.
Our office has been getting calls from workers asking us, what do I do if I come down with something, and I have to choose between going to work while I’m sick, or losing a paycheck or losing my job?
It’s unacceptable that millions of people are faced with that impossible choice.
We know corporations aren’t always going to do the right thing – they’ve refused to give millions of Americans paid sick days for years.
Promises aren’t enough – we need to pass this bill NOW.
Our legislation would require all employers to allow workers to accrue seven days of paid sick leave, and to provide an additional 14 days that would be available immediately in the event of any public health emergency, like we have right now.
Congress can’t wait. People are choosing between going to work sick, and missing a paycheck right now.
We need this bill to prevent the spread of coronavirus and stop this crisis getting worse
It’s about the Dignity of Work issue, and it’s about public safety.