State and federal lawmakers hoping to stay ahead of COVID-19 are introducing legislation to address infectious disease measures, emergency funding and unemployment and sick leave pay.
On Monday, Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va., introduced H.B. 6139 in the U.S. House of Representatives, which calls on the Secretary of Labor to issue an emergency temporary standard requiring certain employers to develop and implement comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plans. The bill, backed by 23 other Democratic lawmakers, would apply to employers in health care and other sectors where employees have an elevated risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The bill follows pleas last week by the AFL-CIO for an emergency standard to protect workers at risk of exposure to the virus.
On Thursday, California Gov. Gavin Newsome issued an executive order that removes the waiting period for unemployment and disability insurance for Californians who lose work as a result of COVID-19 and gave the state the authority to commandeer hotels and medical facilities to isolate and treat COVID-19 patients if necessary.
On Tuesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency, instructing the state’s department of labor and employment to issue emergency regulations regarding sick leave for certain industries and temporarily requiring employers to provide four days of paid sick leave to workers exhibiting flu-like symptoms and being teste for COVID-19.
Several states have also introduced bills regarding COVID-19. Maryland lawmakers on Tuesday introduced H.B. 1661, which would allow the governor to transfer up to $50 million by budget amendment from the state’s revenue stabilization account to fund costs associated with COVID-19.
Minnesota on Wednesday introduced H.B. 4414, which would modify eligibility conditions for unemployment insurance and use of sick leave benefits during an outbreak of a communicable disease. Hawaii lawmakers on Wednesday introduced H.B. 1629, which would make appropriations from the state’s general revenue fund to support the state’s Department of Health and Department of Defense activities to contain and respond to COVID-19.
Also on Wednesday, Utah’s House of Representatives unanimously passed a joint resolution extending a state of emergency due to COVID-19.
This article was first published by Business Insurance.