Virginians push for paid sick leave
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed by the federal government to provide paid sick leave, but it has expired. Now it’s up to localities if they want to extend this act.
The FFCRA requires employers to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave in case of a qualifying reason. That includes a COVID-19 outbreak or a sick child.
In Shenandoah County, Strasburg Town Council met last night and discussed the issue. Town Manager Wyatt Pearson is asking for a three-month extension of the act to give an incentive to people who feel sick to stay at home.
“Our staff proposal to town council was to extend essentially that same framework for a policy out three months and allow us to continue administering it as if it is our own internal policy,” Pearson said. “We think while we’re still living with COVID-19 and as vaccinations continue to get rolled out, having that accessory benefit if you will, is particularly helpful in combatting COVID-19.”
The Virginia Paid Sick Leave Coalition and The Virginia Interfaith Center is working to get a bill passed in the upcoming general assembly to allow this benefit throughout the commonwealth.
They met Tuesday, calling on state legislators to expand paid sick leave for essential workers by 40 hours.
“For so many of our residents, that becomes a very real decision about ‘am I gonna do what’s best for public health and quarantine myself for 14 days at the expense of a paycheck and the ability to put food on the table for my family,’” said Dr. Danny Avula, director of Richmond and Henrico health departments.
Virginia’s next general assembly meeting starts on January 13th.
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