As states across the country announce their plans to start a business, many working parents are left with the difficult, and in some cases impossible, task of finding alternative childcare because schools and kindergartens remain closed due to the pandemic.
To help people get the leave they need, the National Women’s Law Center recently announced that their gender equality legal network has added a new service that helps eligible workers get paid leave related to coronavirus.
In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Disease Response Act for Families, which requires US employers with 50-500 employees to provide two weeks of paid sick days in emergencies to employees who need to take care of themselves or to a family member who sick with Covid-19. The bill also required employers to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave to workers who must isolate or care for the child due to the closure of kindergartens and schools. Although the bill was intended to help millions of families cope with the effects of the pandemic, nearly half of Americans say they heard very little or nothing about these benefits, according to a study by Morning Consult for New York Times,
In addition, only 28% of business leaders covered by this new law say they use it to their advantage. Sharin Tejani, director of the NWLC Gender Equality Law Network, said that as more employees return to work, it’s important for people to know about the paid vacation they have access to.
“At this point, workers find themselves in an unbearable situation where they have to choose between caring for their children and going to work, and they have to do both,” she tells CNBC Make It. “So, this vacation, I hope, will help with this, and therefore it is very important that they learn about it and that employees who have access to it get it.”
According to Tejani, to take advantage of the NWLC offer, workers can fill out online form request legal assistance. From there, the person will be given the name of three lawyers in the organization’s network who are ready to give the first consultation for free. During this consultation, the person will find out if he is entitled to paid leave in accordance with the Coronavirus Infection Response Act for families, and if so, how can he get it if his employer creates problems for him. After that, according to Tejani, the person will decide whether he needs further paid legal support in order to access his protected time. Although this service is open to all workers who want to know their rights to paid leave, she says that women are likely to benefit most from this help.
“We know that part of paid leave and paid sick days is for self-care, and another part is for caring for your family members and closing your school and taking care of children,” says Tejani. “And we know that it will fall more on women because care usually does“.
In addition to women with the primary responsibility for care, she explains that women also make up almost two-thirds of more than 22.2 million people who work in the 40 lowest paid jobs in the country, many of them lack of access to paid leaveOf the women in these low-paying roles who are mothers, 69% They are said to be the sole or primary breadwinner for their family, according to NWLC.
“Women’s salaries are needed by families,” says Tejani. “Not all women can quit work and stay at home because their families must eat.”
The United States is the only industrialized country to does not guarantee According to Tejani, workers are paying family leave and hoping that the pandemic will force lawmakers to think more seriously about the need for paid leave and paid sick days for all employees except employees covered by the Coronavirus Response Act in the Family, which is valid for expires at the end of this year.
“It is very, very clear that workers cannot function without any insurance from paid leave and paid sick days, because families are sick and they need to take care of themselves,” she said.
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