Late last month, the Biden administration to an important and necessary step of offering a tax credit to employers who offer paid time off related to COVID-19 or the vaccination.
To qualify, the must be a business with under 500 employees that offered paid sick or family leave to their employees through September 30th of this year and have employees who take paid leave due to COVID-19, including for illness, quarantine, getting tested or vaccinated, or caregiving. The businesses may be eligible for tax credits of more than $17,000 per employee who takes sick or family leave from April 1 through September 30. (More information is available HERE.)
In a statement released by the White House, they make it clear why this is so important:
Providing paid time off for vaccinations is an investment in the safety, productivity and health of an employer’s own workforce and their community. No working person in this country should lose a single dollar from their paycheck to take time to get the shot or recover from it. The paid leave tax credit that President Biden signed into the law in the American Rescue Plan ensures that no small businesses or non-profits will lose a single dollar by providing such paid leave to workers receiving a vaccination.
This is, as I said, important and necessary, if we are going to achieve the herd immunity necessary for life to get back to normal in America. However, it’s only a first step. Ever person who works should be eligible for paid time off if they or a family member is sick. As a simple public health issue, it’s obvious why this is the case. If employees have to take a pay cut to stay home if they or a family member is sick, they are FAR more likely to go to work anyway or send their child to school or daycare, spreading their germs and making others sick.
Every other major industrialized country has this policy (I don’t consider it a “benefit”, quite frankly) and it’s time we catch up to them here in America.
When earned paid sick leave measures come up in your state, lobby your elected officials to pass them. It’s a policy that’s just common sense and it is ridiculous that it has become politicized because it has broad support across the nation. A full 78% of respondents to a recent poll support it.
Paid sick leave related to COVID-19 is a good first step. Now let’s go all the way.