House Democratic lawmakers today sent a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine urging him to use his office’s powers to consider creating a temporary paid sick leave program to lessen the impact a coronavirus outbreak would have on the state.
While currently no Ohioans have tested positive for the virus, health officials believe the state’s first confirmed case is imminent.
“We appreciate that the Ohio Department of Health is asking employers to be flexible with their sick leave policies and allowing employees to stay home. However, there is no guarantee employers will grant this request, and at the same time, employees who live paycheck-to-paycheck and cannot afford to stay away from their jobs will need income,” the lawmakers wrote.
Democrats say the governor has several options to fund the program, including:
- Declaring an emergency and using general revenue funding,
- Utilizing money from the Controlling Board’s Emergency Purposes Fund,
- Tapping into the Budget Stabilization Fund, which is already nearing full capacity,
- Using TANF funds that have been reserved for emergencies and unforeseen circumstances.
While federal law provides some workers the ability to take leave, it does not provide those workers with any guarantees that they will have compensation while on leave.