From extended jobless benefits to student loan reprieve, COVID-19 relief set to fade at year’s end

By Paul Davidson

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provided two weeks of paid sick days to workers at companies with fewer than 500 employees who were stricken by the virus, quarantined or caring for relatives. The provision is scheduled to expire Dec. 31.

Thirteen states and Washington, D.C., broadly guarantee paid sick days, said Pronita Gupta, director of job quality at the Center for Law and Social Policy. About 32 million mostly low-paid hourly workers get no paid sick days from their employers.

People “who may be sick or have a family member who is sick will be forced to go to work,” Gupta said. “That will spread the contagion.”

Similarly, 10 weeks of paid family leave was afforded workers at companies with fewer than 500 employees who needed to care for children whose schools are closed. Ten states require businesses to provide paid family leave.

Expiration of the federal benefit at year-end “is going to throw a lot of families into disarray,” Gupta said. They’ll “have to figure out how to juggle that.”


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