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PNS Daily Newscast - January 15, 2020 


Efforts to make Paid Family and Medical Leave go further; nurses sick of reusing N-95 masks even as COVID infections spike.


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States shore up security ahead of Inauguration Day; Biden unveils an ambitious economic relief plan; and Human Rights Watch report chides Trump's record.

COVID Surge, Schools Reopening Generate New Paid-Leave Push

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Nevada law does not require employers with less than 50 workers to provide sick leave. (pewtrusts.org)
Nevada law does not require employers with less than 50 workers to provide sick leave. (pewtrusts.org)
July 24, 2020

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The ongoing pandemic has millions of families worried about their jobs and incomes, but also anxious about returning to work and school because they don't have paid sick or family leave.

The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that doesn't require employers to give their workers paid time off when they're sick - an urgent concern during the health crisis.

In a news conference yesterday, Nevada mother of four Tameka Henry was among those calling on the Senate to support a paid sick leave mandate. Henry, a member of the Paid Leave for All Workers Advisory Group, says it would have made a significant difference for her family.

"I calculated that I've lost over $200,000 over the years," says Henry. "It would have given me the space to take care of my husband when he was seriously ill without losing my means of livelihood."

In March, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law the first emergency paid leave law, but loopholes exempted up to 106 million workers - including millions of front-line health-care and essential workers.

National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García is a former 6th-grade teacher. She says paid leave is a critical piece of reopening schools.

"I know what it's like to have moms and dads bring their little guys into a classroom apologizing they probably should be home, but they're worried about not getting paid if they stay home and take care of a sick child," says García.

Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth is a sponsor of the PAID Leave Act and says when doors reopen, school personnel need to be as protected as possible.

"We've got to insist that paid leave covers not just teachers, but the other people who look after them," says Duckworth. "People like school counselors and bus drivers and cafeteria workers and janitors - many of whom aren't even eligible for unpaid leave right now."

A study released earlier this year found that in states that mandated sick leave, fewer employees worked when sick, taking on average two additional sick days a year.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NV