Posted on March 10, 2020 Issues: Health Care Low-Wage Jobs Poverty & Economic Security

(Washington, D.C.) The National Women’s Law Center is joining a coalition of public policy experts across the country calling on Congress to take immediate action to support  American workers during the spread of COVID-19.

 

The following is a statement from Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center:

“This global pandemic is bringing to light economic vulnerabilities here in the United States that are all too familiar to working families who live a single paycheck away from disaster. The risks posed by COVID-19 are very real, very concerning, and serve as a necessary reminder that the health and well-being of our most vulnerable neighbors have a direct impact on all of us. It is long past time for lawmakers to take action and provide the support people need to protect their health, their livelihood, and their communities. How we weather this storm, and fare as a nation, is up to them.”

The virus is exposing weaknesses in our labor laws and social insurance systems as workers cannot take paid time off if they are sick, be assured of access to medical help, or be able to meet basic needs should they be laid off as a consequence of the virus. There are a number of important policy tools that Congress and the administration can use to limit the spread and harm of the virus and prevent it from wreaking economic havoc – including shoring up our unemployment insurance (UI) system.

The full letter and list of signatories can be viewed here. Recommendations within center on three main points:

  1. Get help to more families facing corona-related job loss more quickly, preventing widespread economic hardship, bolstering macroeconomic response to slow additional job losses, and helping affected families and communities get back on their feet more quickly.
  2. Support workers who need to balance work and new caregiving responsibilities related to coronavirus.
  3. Empower employees and employers to prevent further spread of the virus.

Unemployment insurance has the potential to be an important tool to help protect families and stabilize our economy during these uncertain times, but only if lawmakers act immediately to strengthen protections for unemployed workers.


We urge lawmakers to act with the urgency required, and to strengthen the unemployment insurance system writ large so that our country is more prepared to help families, communities and the economy going forward.  


Unemployment insurance has the potential to be an important tool to help protect families and stabilize our economy during these uncertain times, but only if lawmakers act immediately to strengthen protections for unemployed workers. We urge lawmakers to act with the urgency required, and to strengthen the unemployment insurance system writ large so that our country is more prepared to help families, communities and the economy going forward.  

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