In an attack against workers, the Trump administration has drastically scaled back employer requirements to adhere to paid sick leave rules during the coronavirus pandemic when many workers are most at risk.
Business Insider reported that Trump’s new rule will block guaranteed paid sick leave for 75% of American workers. This rollback of workers rights is a result of the Department of Labor manipulating the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which Congress passed to expand paid sick leave and family medical leave protections for workers in light of the current coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, Labor’s rule directly contradicts the language of the FFCRA and violates congressional intent by significantly narrowing workers’ ability to access benefits, which several members of Congress raised in a letter to the department.
CREW has requested all Department of Labor documents related to qualifications around applying for paid sick or family leave and clarifications of the department’s understanding of the rule itself. CREW also requested communications between Labor and outside groups that might have influenced the rule implementation.
Amidst a global health pandemic, worker protections shouldn’t be in flux or affected by outside interests. The disconnect between Congress’s intention and the department’s rule also raises questions around lobbying at the department level that might have swayed Labor to favor outside interests. The public deserves to know Labor’s rationale for manipulating Congress’s actions and weakening sick leave rules, and to what extent outside industry influenced this rule.