WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC4 News) – Multiple law makers around the county have introduced a bill that will help workers facing time off, loss of income, over coronavirus concerns.

In a press release issued by the office of Utah Senator Mitt Romney, he, along with Gary Peters (D-MI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Todd Young (R-IN), and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) with U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA), John Rutherford (R-FL), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) introduced the Coronavirus Worker Relief Act today in Washington D.C.

The press release said the bill will provide disaster unemployment assistance to people who are unable to work due to the current coronavirus outbreak. Assistance will be available to individuals, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, who are sick, quarantined, furloughed, or whose family circumstances keep them from working or reduce their pay as a result of the coronavirus outbreak or government containment efforts.

“Our country is facing a serious health crisis, and Utahns shouldn’t have to choose between a paycheck and protecting their own health,” Senator Romney said. “By providing assistance for those unable to work due to the coronavirus, our legislation will ease the financial uncertainty that families in Utah and across the country may face during this time.”

“Michiganders forced to stay at home from work due to Coronavirus shouldn’t need to worry about being able to pay their bills or putting food on the table,” said Senator Peters. “We need to do everything possible to support workers and families during this challenging time. I’m pleased to join this bipartisan effort to help ensure Michigan families can stay afloat financially during the coronavirus outbreak.” 

“It is vital to public health that people who feel sick are able to stay home without fear of losing their job or going broke,” said Senator Schatz. “Helping people who can’t work because of a public health emergency is just the right thing to do.”
“No worker should have to choose between putting themselves at risk of contracting coronavirus and being to pay their bills and support their families,” Senator Hirono said. “We need to do everything we can to get money in workers’ pockets as quickly as possible. This bipartisan legislation would provide much needed stability and peace of mind to American workers as we confront the growing coronavirus pandemic.”

“We cannot force workers to choose between paying their bills and following proper CDC public health protocols,” said Representative Rutherford. “It is critical to prioritize the safety and well-being of our communities with proactive, preventative measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. With today’s legislation, folks in Northeast Florida and throughout the country would have peace of mind knowing a financial safety net exists if they miss work due to quarantine or other coronavirus-related precautions.”

The Coronavirus Worker Relief Act will expand the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program by making those who are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak eligible for benefits. Specifically, the bill will:

  • Provide access to disaster unemployment assistance for workers, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, who are sick, quarantined, furloughed, laid off, or whose individual or family circumstances have changed as a result of COVID-19 or government containment efforts;
  • Waive state waiting periods and work search requirements to ensure that workers can get the assistance they need as soon as possible;
  • Set a minimum amount of assistance at parity with that of state unemployment compensation laws; and
  • Assist states in the administration of this unemployment assistance.