Pro-Family Leaders: Strengthen and Extend Emergency Paid Leave

Dozens of Christian leaders and proponents of the common good have signed a new letter to Congressional leaders on emergency paid leave. The signatories include Millennial writers Marcus Mescher, Daniel Petri, and Nichole Flores; past contributors John Dougherty and Jessica Keating; and editor Robert Christian, along with former Millennial of the Year Michael Wear.

The letter states:

As COVID-19 disrupts our common life, families will, ultimately, bear crucial responsibilities – caring for those who are sick, attending to children and loved ones when schools and other places of care close. All families, therefore, need a solid base of support.

In March, Congress enacted an emergency paid sick and family leave program as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), enabling paid time off for COVID-related illness or care. Many households, however, fall through gaps in the law’s coverage and application. We urge Congress to close these gaps, enable all families to care, and protect public health during COVID-19.

Guarantee emergency paid leave for COVID-19 related quarantine, illness, and caregiving, and for those who are pregnant and welcoming new children during COVID. This includes:

    • Care for a family member after exposure or infection by COVID-19.

    • Care for oneself after exposure or infection by COVID-19.

    • Care for a child whose school or place of care is closed or who is participating in distance learning due to COVID-19.

    • Care for a disabled or elder family member at risk of COVID-19 in their place of care or whose place of care is unavailable.

    • Bereavement for a family member who has died.

    • Care for oneself and one’s child during the prenatal period, postnatal period, foster care, or adoption.

Family leave should support a range of family caregivers, similar to emergency paid sick days, including: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and other close relatives….

Extend emergency paid leave to all workers, regardless of employer size. The FFCRA excluded individuals who work for employers with more than 500 workers from its emergency leave mandate and created gaps for essential health care workers and employees of small employers. These exclusions should be remedied….

Extend emergency paid leave past December 2020. The FFCRA is currently set to expire at the end of 2020, too early to accommodate COVID-19’s ongoing effects on health and family….

Universal paid sick leave is a public health necessity. We encourage you to strengthen and extend emergency paid leave during this crucial time.

You can read the full letter and see all of the signatories here. You can learn more about Families Valued, an initiative of the Center for Public Justice, a civic education and public policy organization that works to equip citizens, develop leaders and shape policy to serve God, advance justice and transform public life here.