House Democrats have proposed a new economic stimulus plan in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, offering policies affecting federal workers including paid child care, mandatory telework for many employees and bonus pay for those on the front lines of fighting the outbreak.
The Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act (H.R. 6379) would provide $2.5 trillion to agencies and Americans directly, including through checks of up to $1,500. Federal workers required to work during the crisis would be eligible to receive up to $2,000 in reimbursement for child care costs per dependent child. It would require any employee with a telework agreement in place to work remotely through the end of the year. Agencies would be prohibited from instituting any organization-wide limitations on telework and would have to report to Congress if their telework rates dipped. Each agency would have to report annual goals to boost their telework usage rates.
Employees who are directly treating individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, or those with “frequent, unavoidable contact” with the public, including Transportation Security Administration screeners, would be eligible for hazard pay. The measure would also ensure employees whose offices are closed, but who also cannot telework, are eligible for paid “weather and safety leave.” It would also create a presumption that any federal employee who contracts the coronavirus did so on the job and is therefore eligible for workers’ compensation.
Senate Democrats and White House officials are currently negotiating a separate measure, with key players suggesting Tuesday morning a deal could be imminent. It is unclear which of the House’s federal workforce proposals, if any, would make it into that version of a stimulus package. The House may put aside ..