That sucking sound you hear is the giant hole in Nancy Pelosi’s sick leave bill

Coronavirus

Nancy Pelosi has responded to the New York Times editorial criticizing[1] her sick leave bill:

So imagine passing a bill requiring not large or small companies to offer sick leave, but just some companies in between to maybe 20 percent of full time employees.[2] And then saying it’s because you don’t want to subsidize corporations?

But House Democrats also failed to act in the public interest. Paying sick workers to stay at home is both good policy and good politics. Why not pass a bill that required all employers to provide paid sick leave and then force Republicans to explain their objections to the public?[3]

The legislation includes 14 paid sick days for employees, as well as three months of paid emergency leave throughout the coronavirus crisis. Employers will be reimbursed for some of these costs through tax credits. At GOP insistence, the emergency leave provision will expire in a year. And Republicans were able to insert language exempting smaller businesses from the requirements.[4]

We aren’t talking about part-time workers, many of whom would work full time if they could get it, many of whom are working multiple jobs to make up for the lack of full time work at a living wage. We aren’t even talking about so-called “independent contractors”—gig workers—here.

The reality here is that this bill is nothing. Meanwhile, let’s talk about “social distancing.”

Or, um, maybe not.


  1. [1]New York Times, “There’s a Giant Hole in Pelosi’s Coronavirus Bill,” March 14, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/14/opinion/coronavirus-pelosi-sick-leave.html
  2. [2]New York Times, “There’s a Giant Hole in Pelosi’s Coronavirus Bill,” March 14, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/14/opinion/coronavirus-pelosi-sick-leave.html
  3. [3]New York Times, “There’s a Giant Hole in Pelosi’s Coronavirus Bill,” March 14, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/14/opinion/coronavirus-pelosi-sick-leave.html
  4. [4]Sarah Ferris et al., “House passes sweeping coronavirus response package,” Politico, March 14, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/13/congress-coronavirus-stimulus-package-deal-friday-128140

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