Navigating COVID-19: Health Policy Solutions-Paid Leave


Ally Siegler, Health Policy Strategist

Even before the current pandemic, 33.6 million Americans were without a single day of paid leave to care for themselves or a family member. This is another way that the U.S. trails behind other wealthy countries, and it has significant negative consequences for public health and basic financial security for workers. As we look at the devastation caused by COVID-19, it’s even easier to see the necessity for comprehensive paid leave, so that everyone can stay healthy and fully contribute to their communities.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides temporary paid leave provisions for most Americans. These protections have proved critical, allowing parents to take care of their kids whose child care or schools are closed. They also enable workers to stay home when they are sick, reducing the spread of illness. However, the policy’s reach is limited and doesn’t cover everyone, including many essential and health care workers.

In the second brief of our COVID-19 policy series, “Navigating COVID-19: Health Policy Solutions – Paid Leave,” we dive into the FFCRA paid leave provisions and offer recommendations to extend and improve portions of the law, as well as proposals for paid leave programs that could exist after the pandemic is over. Looking beyond the COVID-19 crisis, we must ensure policy solutions strengthen the health and financial security of working families.

Missed our first brief? Find it here, “Navigating COVID-19: Health Policy Solutions – Telehealth.”