U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-IN) and Steve Daines (R-MT) on March 12 introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to expand the current federal disaster unemployment assistance program to more workers.
“If workers are ill, or caring for sick loved ones, they should have the ability to take time off from work without the threat of financial harm,” Sen. Young said. “This is what our bipartisan legislation aims to accomplish by providing disaster unemployment assistance for individuals impacted by coronavirus.”
Sens. Young and Daines cosponsored the Coronavirus Worker Relief Act, S. 3476, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) to expand the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program specifically to support people who are unable to work due to the current coronavirus outbreak.
“Montana’s working families shouldn’t have to compromise their health or the health of their loved ones over the fear of missing a paycheck and not being able to pay the bills,” said Sen. Daines. “It’s time we put politics aside and get this relief to American workers.”
If enacted, S. 3476 would make assistance available to individuals, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, who are sick, quarantined, furloughed, or whose family circumstances keep them from working or reduce their pay as a result of the coronavirus outbreak or government containment efforts, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers’ offices.
The bill also would waive state waiting periods and work search requirements to ensure that workers receive fast assistance and set a minimum amount of assistance at parity with that of state unemployment compensation laws, according to the summary.
“During this time of uncertainty, we must find solutions to ensure that individuals can comply with public health guidance without facing economic hardship,” Sen. Young said.
The same-named H.R. 6207 was introduced on March 11 by U.S. Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and John Rutherford (R-FL) in their chamber.