See below for a press release from Del. Elizabeth Guzman. Good to see this important bill moving forward!
RICHMOND, Va. – The House Labor and Commerce Committee today passed Delegate Elizabeth Guzman’s bill that would require both public and private employers to provide paid quarantine leave to workers who have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19.
To qualify, workers must work at least 20 hours per week. The employer must provide paid leave to cover the average number of hours that an employee would work over a two-week period.
“It is clear a paid sick days bill is not going to pass the Senate, and it is my hope that the quarantine bill addresses their concerns” said Delegate Guzman, who had initially planned to run a broader bill that would have covered other medical conditions. “To be clear, this is a pandemic and we are in a public health emergency. COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting Black and Latinx people, many of whom have prepared our food and kept this country running in low-wage, frontline jobs with no benefits. These everyday heroes should not have to choose between a paycheck and the health of their community.”
Guzman continued, “A new poll shows 57 percent of Republicans believe that the national death toll, which is now 178,000 people, is acceptable. I do not, and I hope my Republican colleagues do not. People in your districts are suffering, just as people in every district are suffering. President Trump will not save us; we in the states must save ourselves. I am grateful to the members of the Committee who recognize the threat of this disease and voted for this legislation. If we are serious about protecting our communities and stopping the spread of COVID, we will pass this bill with bipartisan support.”
An associated budget amendment will authorize the use of federal COVID-19 relief funds to provide paid quarantine leave to state employees; employees of political subdivisions; and employees of specific social service agencies, home care agencies, and non-profits providing essential services. The amendment also requires that 20 percent of Virginia’s unexpended CARES Act funds for small business relief be used to support quarantine leave for small business employees.