With the physical health and economic health of Americans now clearly at risk from the Coronavirus, the U.S. House took quick action Friday night, March 13, to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201)to respond to this crisis. Now it is time for the Senate to act and send this critical measure to the President for him to sign.
Having called on Congress to act, the American Sustainable Business Council applauds the U.S. House for its expeditious and overwhelming vote in support of this legislation to allow people to take the time that they need to stay healthy or to recover, while not losing needed income. The bill provides for immediate emergency sick days, earned sick days, longer paid leave, and expanded unemployment insurance, with targeted assistance to small business. These steps are a critical foundation for supporting community health and at least maintaining, if not increasing, business productivity.
ASBC, its business and business organization members representing 250,000 companies, urges the Senate to act with equal speed and for the President to sign this bill as soon as it reaches his desk. At the same time, ASBC calls on Congress also to act to alleviate the special burdens this crisis and the response may impose on smaller businesses.
ASBC has long advocated for stronger paid family leave protections, but this coronavirus crisis is a frightening demonstration of that need. When all employees have time to heal themselves, or time to care for sick family members, productivity increases, profits rise, our economy grows and our nation becomes stronger. To make this happen, workers need to have access to paid leave so they have support while dealing with personal or family health issues, and a job to come back to once the issues have been resolved.
Every health expert recommends that taking broad action quickly will help minimize the spread of this virus and other health threats. That can only benefit businesses, communities, and the economy as a whole. Yet, nationally, over 1 in 4 private sector employees lack access to earned sick days, and 60 percent of workers lack employer provided personal medical leave for a longer illness. But a recent study by ASBC and Panorama found a positive, or at worst neutral, impact on return on investment for businesses that offer paid leave.
It’s time for immediate action. Join ASBC in our call for thethe Senate to immediately pass, and the President to sign, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The country is in a crisis and requires a response to scale.
And to our members and fellow citizens, please closely follow the advice of health professionals.