Aiming to assist workers who do not have access to paid leave during the COVID-19 outbreak, legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic), Annette Chaparro (D-Hudson) and Annette Quijano (D-Union) to create the Temporary Lost Wage Unemployment Program was approved Monday by the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee and later by the full Assembly, 65-0.
The fund established under the measure (A-3846) would allow workers who need to be absent from work due to COVID-19 to recoup lost wages. Eligible workers include those who are diagnosed with novel coronavirus; need to take care of an ill family member; need to stay home to care for children due to school or childcare facility closures; or any other purpose determined by the Commissioner of Labor. Workers would receive equivalent compensation to their normal wages.
Assemblywomen Sumter, Chaparro and Quijano released the following statement:
“For hourly workers who do not have paid leave benefits or the option of working from home, missing work means missing pay. Many people are burdened with the choice of going to work when they don’t feel well, rather than lose out on wages needed to pay the rent or buy groceries. We would never want someone with COVID-19 to feel like they need to go to work because they have no other options, and therefore risk the health of themselves and others.
“With this legislation, they will have another option. No one deserves to lose income because they or their family has been impacted by novel coronavirus.”