March 12, 2020

Young, Daines, Peters, Schatz, Hirono, Romney Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Provide Unemployment Assistance To People Unable To Work Due To Coronavirus Outbreak

WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) introduced the Coronavirus Worker Relief Act. The new bipartisan, bicameral legislation will provide disaster unemployment assistance to people who are unable to work due to the current coronavirus outbreak. Assistance will be available to individuals, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, who are sick, quarantined, furloughed, or whose family circumstances keep them from working or reduce their pay as a result of the coronavirus outbreak or government containment efforts.


“If workers are ill, or caring for sick loved ones, they should have the ability to take time off from work without the threat of financial harm. This is what our bipartisan legislation aims to accomplish by providing disaster unemployment assistance for individuals impacted by coronavirus,” said Senator Young.“During this time of uncertainty, we must find solutions to ensure that individuals can comply with public health guidance without facing economic hardship.”


“Montana’s working families shouldn’t have to compromise their health or the health of their loved ones over the fear of missing a paycheck and not being able to pay the bills,” said Senator Daines.“This bipartisan legislation gets our workers the financial support and security they need during the coronavirus outbreak. It’s time we put politics aside and get this relief to American workers.”


“Michiganders forced to stay at home from work due to Coronavirus shouldn’t need to worry about being able to pay their bills or putting food on the table,” said Senator Peters.“We need to do everything possible to support workers and families during this challenging time. I’m pleased to join this bipartisan effort to help ensure Michigan families can stay afloat financially during the coronavirus outbreak.”


“It is vital to public health that people who feel sick are able to stay home without fear of losing their job or going broke,” said Senator Schatz.“Helping people who can’t work because of a public health emergency is just the right thing to do.”


“No worker should have to choose between putting themselves at risk of contracting coronavirus and being to pay their bills and support their families,” said Senator Hirono.“We need to do everything we can to get money in workers’ pockets as quickly as possible. This bipartisan legislation would provide much needed stability and peace of mind to American workers as we confront the growing coronavirus pandemic.”


“Our country is facing a serious health crisis, and Utahns shouldn’t have to choose between a paycheck and protecting their own health,” said Senator Romney.“By providing assistance for those unable to work due to the coronavirus, our legislation will ease the financial uncertainty that families in Utah and across the country may face during this time.”


The bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), John Rutherford (R-Fla.), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.).


The Coronavirus Worker Relief Actwill expand the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program by making those who are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak eligible for benefits. Specifically, the bill will:

  • Provide access to disaster unemployment assistance for workers, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, who are sick, quarantined, furloughed, laid off, or whose individual or family circumstances have changed as a result of COVID-19 or government containment efforts;
  • Waive state waiting periods and work search requirements to ensure that workers can get the assistance they need as soon as possible;
  • Set a minimum amount of assistance at parity with that of state unemployment compensation laws; and
  • Assist states in the administration of this unemployment assistance.