A letter to Congressional leadership as they work on a COVID-19 relief package urging them to fix a potential flaw in the legislation.
H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, expands paid sick leave and family medical leave benefits for all public sector employees who are affected by the coronavirus crisis. While we support this provision, with appropriate limitations to ensure that certain critical operational water system staff are available at to maintain water service, the enacted legislation includes a glaring flaw that will place a strain on taxpayers across the country.
Unfortunately, the bill treats private companies and public employers very differently. Both are required to provide paid sick and family leave to employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but only private sector employers will receive a payroll tax credit to offset the costs. Public sector employers are explicitly prohibited from receiving those same tax credits, even though state and local governments pay payroll taxes to the federal government.