U.S. Chamber Letter on Coronavirus Legislation to Support American Workers and Their Families

Friday, March 13, 2020 - 11:45am

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:

          The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds Congressional leaders and the Administration for assembling a strong, bipartisan, targeted, and temporary coronavirus response package intended to help workers and their families better weather the pandemic for the duration of this public health emergency.

          The compromise package focuses paid leave benefits on those directly affected by the coronavirus crisis for the duration of the pandemic.  It would also address the burden small employers face by providing a way for them to be reimbursed for the costs of paid leave. In the long term, we remain committed to working to find national solutions to the issues of paid family and sick leave that go beyond this public health emergency.

          In addition, the legislation would make it easier for individuals to receive unemployment insurance (UI) benefits if they are not eligible for paid leave, but are still unable to go to work because of the coronavirus.  The legislation builds on the guidance already provided by the Department of Labor by waiving the available and able UI eligibility requirements, as well as the one-week waiting period required before an individual can apply for UI benefits.

          Similar to a natural disaster, just as no family should face financial ruin because of a loss of income caused by this outbreak, no business should go bankrupt because of a temporary loss in revenue as a result of the coronavirus. It is critical that Congress and the Administration turn next to a package to assist impacted employers.

          The Chamber will complement these efforts with our ongoing program of work to ensure economic resilience focusing on employee support, business operations, supply chain and trade disruption and the impact on small businesses and medium-sized enterprises.  We have four task forces working through these issues now, and we expect to transmit recommendations as early as next week.

          Thank you again for your bipartisan work and strong leadership to prepare legislation to address the immediate needs and concerns of American workers and their families.

Sincerely,

Neil L. Bradley