WASHINGTON – A provision in the House version of the $ 1.9 trillion aid package would provide additional aid to federal workers with COVID-19, help family members with the coronavirus, and care for children whose schools are closed due to the pandemic.
The $ 570 million emergency vacation plan provides up to 600 hours of paid vacation for federal employees who no longer have illness but need time off to watch for themselves or others due to illness and school closings caused by the coronavirus to care.
Critics have planned the program as a benefit to pay federal employees to stay at home, but supporters said the relief compensated postal workers, the transportation security administration and federal judicial staff who were forced to work despite the risk of infection.
There are approximately 3,000 federal employees in the Las Vegas area who would be eligible for the benefit if approved by Congress and signed into law.
“Nobody should have to choose between working and caring for loved ones battling COVID-19,” said Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev.
“Emergency paid leave shouldn’t be a luxury for a hardworking full-time worker, especially amid a pandemic,” she added.
“Our bill will support postal workers and other federal employees who have helped us get through these troubled times,” said Titus.
Also included on the house bill is a provision drafted and approved by the House Ways and Means Committee that grants private employers tax credits to increase and extend sick leave through September 30, the date the federal emergency leave plan expires.
The tax credits are aimed at providing all workers with the same benefits the nation has for economic recovery, supporters said.
The Emergency Federal Vacation Schedule in the House version of the $ 1.9 trillion bill is not included in Senate legislation, which is written under special reconciliation rules to avoid a 60-vote filibuster and allow for a simple majority.
Democrats control the 50:50 Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris as a tiebreaking vote.
If the provision is not added, a Senate conference committee would decide whether to include it in the final version of the legislation.
While critics have cited the federal employee benefits plan as a bailout for bureaucrats, lawmakers in areas like Washington, DC and those with large numbers of workers in federal facilities said many public sector workers are on duty without vaccinations and around Vaccines compete with state and local centers.
Kevin McCarthy, minority chairman of the R-California House of Representatives, said the bill would give federal employees $ 21,000 for out-of-school children, but ignore millions of parents outside of DC “who are also suffering from school closings.”
But Rep. Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said the proposal for emergency leave for postal workers and federal employees would remove concerns that they “choose between their jobs or care for their loved ones have to become infected with coronavirus. “