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Brown, other senators urge employers not to penalize workers over coronavirus

“No one should be penalized by their employer or put in any financial duress for following CDC guidance,” the senators said in a letter.
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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, left, meets with Ian Beniston, executive director of Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, right, and Mike Durkin, Youngstown's code enforcement and blight remediation superintendent, center, before a roundtable on affordable housing at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. On Thursday, Brown joined other senators in urging major U.S. employers not to penalize workers for following recommended health procedures to protect the public from further spread of the coronavirus. (Justin Dennis | Mahoning Matters)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, joined a group of 14 senators in urging major U.S. employers to commit that workers will not be penalized for following recommended health procedures to protect the public from further spread of the coronavirus.

In a letter to major industry groups, which together represent thousands of major companies employing millions of Americans, the senators wrote, “No one should be penalized by their employer or put in any financial duress for following CDC guidance. To that end, we encourage your member companies to commit to ensure that any employees or contractors who follow novel coronavirus-related guidance from public health authorities can count on basic protections like preservation of their employment status and basic financial forbearance.”

Specifically, the senators called on employers to:

  • Ensure that workers will not lose their jobs if they are forced to self-quarantine or stay home to care for a sick family member
  • Not require employees under quarantine to deplete sick or annual leave
  • Offer flexible scheduling options, including telework and unscheduled leave, if employees are unable to report to work
  • Ensure workers have access to financial assistance in the event of a sustained or widespread disruption due to coronavirus
  • Work with insurance providers to ensure that workers can affordably access preventive care and treatment for coronavirus

In addition to Brown, the letter was signed by Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Tim Kaine, D-Va.; Doug Jones, D-Ala.; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; Ben Cardin D-Md.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. 

Copies of the letter were sent to the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Click here to download a PDF of the letter.




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