As efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus in the US are getting more extreme with each passing day, many companies have banned non-essential travel, told the symptomatic to isolate themselves, and encouraged workers to work from home. The problem, however, is that there is a great proportion of people who simply can’t afford to not go to work because of meager sick pay rules.
Fortunately, early on Saturday, the House of Representatives has passed a coronavirus relief package that would provide free testing, money for food stamps and paid sick leave to those who could be thrown out of work in the weeks to come. Having the support of both sides in Congress, the bill is expected to pass as well in the Republican-controlled Senate this week.
As part of the bill, businesses will get a tax credit to help cover the expense, while those affected by the virus will benefit from two weeks of paid sick and family leave. Workers would also be able to take up to three months of unpaid leave if they are quarantined or need to take care of sick family members.
Additionally, the relief aid would expand safety-net programs that help people weather economic downturns, including extra funding to nutritional assistance programs for home-bound seniors and low-income schoolchildren. It would also bolster food stamps and unemployment insurance for more than 34 million low-income people.