BOSTON (WWLP) – As the fall COVID-19 surge arrives, advocates are calling to pass a bill that would fill gaps in federal paid sick time.
With the colder months just ahead, Massachusetts is preparing to reopen field hospitals to manage a rise in hospitalizations.
A supermajority of the Massachusetts House has co-sponsored a bill that would help ensure that all state workers can take paid sick time if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or need to quarantine.
“We’re in the middle of the expected fall COVID surge, but there’s still time to act and prevent more hospitalizations and deaths this winter,” stated Lew Finfer, co-executive director of the Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN) and a co-chair of Raise Up Massachusetts. “Tens of thousands of Massachusetts workers have used up their existing paid sick time or never had any to begin with, and they feel financial pressure to go to work even when they might be sick. This amendment would allow workers to stay home and avoid spreading COVID to their coworkers and the public.”
The amendment was filed by Representative Paul Donato and backed by the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition, which will provide 10 additional work-days (80 hours) of job-protected paid sick time for immediate use during the COVID-19 outbreak to workers not covered by federal paid sick time protections.
It’s co-sponsored by 107 House members, including 102 Democrats and 5 Republicans. It will be voted on this week.