Advocacy Group Pushes For Emergency Paid Sick Time

HYANNIS – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Raise Up Massachusetts is continuing to advocate for an expansion of paid sick time.

Advocates say that more sick time would allow infected workers to stay home and keep the spread of the virus down as opposed to needing to return to work so they can continue to make ends meet.

“Five days is simply not enough to get through a 14-day COVID-19 quarantine period,” said Anabel Santiago, Grassroots Coordinator with the Coalition for Social Justice.

The organization said that the recent  State Senate budget does not include emergency paid sick time for the employees who need it most, including thousands of frontline workers.

They are calling for ten additional workdays or 80 hours of job-protected sick time for immediate use during the ongoing virus outbreak.

Santiago said that this emergency paid sick time would be available to employees not currently covered by the Federal Paid Sick Time Provisions.

She also said that workers taking the sick time would be paid by their employers at their usual rate of pay up to a maximum of up to $850 a week. 

Employers would later be reimbursed by the state, according to Santiago.

“We will not be able to defeat COVID-19 or safely reopen our economy if tens of thousands of people feel the need to go to work even when they might be sick,” she said.

As case numbers continue to rise, Santiago said that the emergency paid time is vital to preventing further surges in cases over the winter season. 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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