Senate DFLers joined House DFLers and essential workers in janitorial work, healthcare, and education to call for emergency paid leave for essential workers forced to miss work due to COVID-19. The proposal has been introduced in both bodies of the Legislature and is titled the Essential Workers Emergency Leave Act (HF 41/ S. 331).
The legislation would require employers to provide up to 100 hours of emergency paid sick leave to an employee who is unable to work or telework while quarantining due to a COVID-19 exposure, a positive test, is showing symptoms of COVID-19, or is caring for children whose school or place of care has been closed due to COVID-19 precautions.
At the press conference, essential workers shared stories of needing to use personal sick and vacation time to not lose income while quarantining following exposures due to COVID-19 at work, and while caring for family members that had received a positive test. Proponents of the bill argue that as standard sick and vacation time dwindles due to extraordinary circumstances, essential workers that have played a key role throughout the pandemic risk losing income and economic stability.
S.F. 331 is co-authored by a member of the Independent Caucus in the Senate and has been referred to the Labor and Industry Policy Committee. H.F. 41 has been referred to the Labor, Industry, Veterans, and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee. Hearings for the bill have not been scheduled at this time.