The U.S. House version of the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021”– a $1.9 trillion emergency situation help bundle to help America recover from the coronavirus pandemic has an extra perk for federal employees: Enhanced paid time off if your child is registered in a school that isn’t back to full-time, in-classroom guideline.
Critics call it a personal bailout for bureaucrats. It is moneyed through a brand-new $570 million household leave account specifically for federal workers.
While countless parents struggle to work from house with kids who are registered in shuttered or partially shuttered schools, and millions more left the workforce or lost tasks to care for their at-home kids, obviously parents in the federal bureaucracy require their own, individual Covid-19 bailout.
Buried on page 305 of the House bill launched late last Friday night (consisted of after the bailout details for states and localities), is a brand-new Treasury Department fund called the “Emergency situation Federal Employee Leave Fund.”
$570 million in the new fund is available through September30 Federal staff members caring for others due to Covid-19 are qualified for paid leave. Amongst those eligible are those who are “not able to work” since they are taking care of school-aged children not physically in school full time “due to Covid-19 preventative measures[.]”
The brand-new Fund permits a federal staff member “taking care of a son or daughter” to qualify for the paid leave, specifically:
” if the school or place of care of the child has actually been closed, if the school of such daughter or son requires or makes optional a virtual knowing instruction model or requires or makes optional a hybrid of in-person and virtual knowing guideline models, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is not available, due to Covid-19 precautions;”
Under the bill as presently drafted, full-time federal staff members can take up to 600 hours in paid leave until September 30, up to $35 an hour and $1,400 a week.
Federal employees presently have up to 12 weeks of overdue leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. ( A law passed in 2019, enables most federal employees– what the sponsors report is 2.1 million federal workers– up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth, foster placement or adoption of a new kid.)
And the preparing seems really sloppy– notice how the expense sets no age limitation for the kids who are home from school?
An open question is whether moms and dads of college-aged kids could take paid time off? Some colleges are virtual and there is no meaning of son or child in the bill and no age criteria.
Even if a federal staff member’s kid might be in school 5 days a week, if the school “makes optional” virtual or hybrid schooling, it appears the moms and dad can keep the daughter or son at home and still receive paid-time off under the expense.
For federal workers who have their kids in personal schools that are open, like some D.C.-area Catholic and independent schools, no taxpayer-funded paid time off is available under the bill.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) stated last Friday (3: 26 mark) that the Covid-19 relief legislation expands emergency leave for federal and postal workers, “so that they do not have to select between their jobs or taking care of loved ones who get contaminated with coronavirus.”
However that’s disingenuous.
The arrangement in the expense for federal parents with kids in schools isn’t about those “infected with coronavirus.” It has to do with kids in the house due to the fact that schools will not open due to Covid-19, Covid-19 worries, or union pressure, or, simply maybe, all of the above.