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Congressman Tim Ryan Introduces Bill to Provide Paid Sick Days for Americans During Coronavirus Outbreak

March 11, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) this week joined fellow members of the House of Representatives in introducing the Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal Family Care Act, legislation that ensures workers have paid sick days in the case of public health emergencies like coronavirus.

With the onset of coronavirus in the United States, experts are advising Americans to stay home if they are sick. But for many workers—including many restaurant workers, truck drivers, people in the service industry, and more—staying home could mean missing out on hourly wages or even losing their job. To effectively combat coronavirus, the response must give workers the flexibility to stay home when necessary.

“In the middle of a public health crisis it is not the time for Americans to be worried about losing a paycheck or a job. The first step to combating coronavirus is decreasing the spread of the virus in public places. To do that, some Americans are going to need to stay home. We have to ensure everyone has the ability to do that to keep themselves, their families, and our communities safe,” said Congressman Ryan.

Currently, there are confirmed coronavirus cases in more than 38 states and Washington, DC and 31 Americans have died from the disease. Twenty-seven percent of private sector workers don’t have paid sick days and will go without pay if they can’t show up at work.

This legislation builds on the existing H.R.1784/S. 840, Healthy Families Act (HFA), which would allow employees at larger employers (with 15 or more employees) to gradually earn up to 7 days of paid sick leave and allow employees at smaller employers to gradually earn up to 7 days of only unpaid sick time. Given the situation presented by COVID-19, this legislation builds off of the current structure of HFA in order to address the current crisis while also providing paid sick leave in the future.

In ongoing efforts to combat the virus, Congressman Ryan has been in contact with local university presidents as well as Northeast Ohio health officials.

Additionally, last week Congressman Ryan voted to pass $8.3 billion in funding that will go to helping communities prevent and fight coronavirus,  including $950 million for supporting state and local health agencies to conduct vital public health activities including lab testing, infection control, and vaccine and treatment development. The funding will also allow small businesses impacted by the coronavirus to access low interest loans.