On June 18, the Senate Committee on Finance Bipartisan Working Group on Paid Family Leave held a roundtable titled “Paid Leave Proposals in the COVID Era.” The working group is co-chaired by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH). Witnesses at the roundtable were Adrienne Schweer, Leader of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Paid Family Leave Task Force; Erika Moritsugu, Vice President for Economic Justice at the National Partnership for Women & Families; and Carrie Lukas, President of the Independent Women’s Forum. Visit the Committee website for more information or to access video of the hearing.
This week, Congressional leaders continue to consider a possible fourth coronavirus response package and what should be included in it. The Arc’s priorities include:
- Grants to support access to home and community-based services (to minimize the risk of people with disabilities being forced into institutions) and to support the direct support professional (DSP) workforce
- Personal protective equipment for DSPs
- Paid leave and sick days for family caregivers of adults with disabilities
- Allowing Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients to receive their Recovery Rebates without filing needless paperwork
Read The Arc’s blog for more information.
The House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R.6201). The bill is now being considered in the Senate. The bill includes a 6.2% federal medical assistance percentage increase to support Medicaid funding to the states. There are some provisions that will provide limited paid sick leave for some workers. The Arc staff is working to expand the paid leave provisions and to ensure that other packages include the needs of people with disabilities and the direct professional workforce. Take action today! Read The Arc’s statement here.
On March 11, the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing on the Healthy Families Act (H.R.1784). This bill provides for paid and unpaid sick leave for employees to meet their own medical needs and those of their families. It requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide their employees with at least one hour of earned paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours of paid sick leave a year. Visit the Committee website for more information or to view archived video of the hearing. The Arc supports this legislation.
On May 8, the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing titled “Paid Family and Medical Leave: Helping Workers and Employers Succeed.” Witnesses were Marisa Howard-Karp, Member, MomsRising; Anthony Sandkamp, Owner, Sandkamp Woodworking; Pronita Gupta, Director of Job Quality, Center for Law and Social Policy; Suzan LeVine, Commissioner, Washington State Employment Security Department; and Rachel Greszler, Research Fellow in Economics, Budget, and Entitlements, Institute for Economic Freedom, The Heritage Foundation. Visit the committee website to review testimony and archived video of the hearing.
The Arc and the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have released Disability Perspectives on Paid Leave: A Qualitative Analysis of Leave-taking Among Workers Affected by Disabilities or Serious Health Conditions. This ground-breaking research examines how workers with disabilities and working caregivers of people with disabilities use, need, and benefit from paid family and medical leave. It is one of the only studies to specifically explore whether current paid and unpaid leave policies and programs meet the needs of the disability community. Findings offer key insights on how existing leave policies can become more disability-inclusive and highlight the need for a comprehensive, national paid leave policy. Read the full report at www.thearc.org/paidleavestudy.
On August 1, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Economic Security for New Parents Act (S.3345). This bill allows workers to receive 12 weeks paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child by reducing their Social Security retirement benefits. Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) has indicated that she plans to introduce similar legislation in September. The bill does not provide medical leave or leave to care for a family member with a serious medical condition. The Arc opposes S.3345; read The Arc’s statement here.