COVID Resources: Unemployment and Worker Protections
The Covid pandemic has had devastating impacts on every single worker and every aspect of our economy, particularly women and Black, Brown, and Indigenous workers. Too many are grappling with how to pay for the basic necessities they need to survive and many are being forced to decide between going back to a job that may be unsafe or protecting their health. Fortunately, legislators and partners can implement innovative solutions that will make our workforce and our local economies safer and stronger.
- Unemployment benefits and preventing wage theft of stimulus checks
- Worker Health and Rights
- A Better Balance produced an emergency paid sick leave tracker for States, Cities and Counties
- Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard University in partnership with NELP collected a number of measures that state and local officials can take to protect workers as economies reopen, as well as tools to help encourage the use of communication to keep workers safe
- Workers compensation – Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed into law a bill that provides temporary workers compensation
- Hazard pay – Any employer that provides COVID-19 essential services shall provide hazard pay if it employs at least six individuals. See this bill from Massachusetts .
- The Colorado Legislature passed CO HB 20-1415 (enacted on July 11, 2020) which prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against any worker who raises concerns about workplace health and safety practices related to a public health emergency.
- NELP provides an overview of 14 states that have adopted comprehensive worker safety protections
- Many states are fighting back against corporate immunity that lets businesses off the hook if they don’t protect workers. A state level toolkit to push back is here.
- Farm & Food Worker Safety
- Appropriate funds for farmers to purchase PPE for farm and food workers. See this bill from New Jersey.
- Ensure that state information related to farm worker safety is communicated in both Spanish and English. Here is what Vermont did and this is the bill being considered in California.
- Through executive action, Governors from California and Michigan have taken action to protect farm workers. An Executive order from California Governor Newsom requiring paid sick leave for workers, while Michigan Governor Gretchen Withmer issued an Executive Order on migrant housing camps during COVID-19.