IAAPA calls on US government to secure paid leave for workers in face of COVID-19 pandemic
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IAAPA calls on US government to secure paid leave for workers in face of COVID-19 pandemic

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We urge Congress to replace the paid leave mandates with a federal emergency programme
– Open letter

IAAPA has joined with 81 other organisations representing hundreds of thousands of businesses employing millions, with the collective calling on the US government to ensure all American workers have access to paid leave in the face of the ongoing public health crisis.

The letter addressed to the US Senate's majority leader, Mitch McConnell and the Democratic leader, Charles Schumer, also calls for relief to be provided to businesses and important incentives to sustain access to employer-provided health benefits, which will affect an estimated 180 million US citizens.

"We appreciate Congress and the Administration moving quickly to mitigate the threats COVID-19 poses to public health, our economy, and workers across the country," reads the letter.

"While the House-passed bill contains critical provisions, including expanded unemployment insurance and increased access to testing, we urge Congress to replace the paid leave mandates with a federal emergency programme.

"The leave mandates in H.R. 6201, which requires businesses with 500 and fewer employees to provide 12 weeks of paid leave, presume liquidity and tolerance for debt that simply does not exist at this time. We fear that these mandates will accelerate small and medium business closures, causing many Americans to lose employer-provided health benefits while straining the administrative and financial resources of state unemployment agencies.

"Although H.R. 6201 includes tax credits and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has promised to advance business money, credits will not produce sufficient liquidity in time. We fear the government does not have the infrastructure and businesses do not have the administrative resources to access these advances in the time needed to deter business closures."

The letter suggests the creation of a public program administered by the federal government to provide compensation for COVID-19 related leave, with the Social Security Administration (SSA) providing financial assistance to American workers impacted by COVID-19.

"SSA is often one of the first agencies on the ground in natural disasters, and it has extensive experience and procedures in place for responding in emergency situations," says the letter. "The legislation includes multiple protections to ensure that Social Security funds are not diverted to the new emergency leave programme. Other agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Labor, could also administer a programme, and we encourage Congress to also consider that agency as an option for statutory relief."

To read the full letter, click here.

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IAAPA has joined with 81 other organisations representing hundreds of thousands of businesses employing millions, with the collective calling on the US government to ensure all American workers have access to paid leave in the face of the ongoing public health crisis.
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