DALLAS–Senator Royce West on Wednesday said the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has highlighted the desperate need for federally-mandated paid sick leave in the United States. The impact of the coronavirus highlights a need to provide a safety net for everyday working people that are living paycheck to paycheck; without creating a financial hardship for small businesses.
“As many as 78 percent of American workers live paycheck to paycheck according to a recent survey. The potential economic hardships this could cause a Texas family are tremendous,” West said.
“I think of a single parent who works two jobs to make ends meet, has no vacation time, no savings, and could be out of work for two weeks; it stops me cold in my tracks,” West said. “You know what comes next–they can’t pay the rent and are evicted, they get behind on their car note, their electric bill, and more,” West said.
“I know this is what happens in these situations, because I have seen it first-hand,” West said. “Families sit on the other side of my desk, in my senate district, and tell me their stories. I’ve seen mothers and fathers, who don’t want to ask for help, stuck when they have nowhere to turn because of a sudden, brief illness,” West said.
“Two weeks out of work may not be much if you make $200,000 a year, have vacation, paid sick time, and savings. But to the average Texas family, it could mean economic hardships,” West said. “For families already on the razor’s edge of poverty, it may mean the difference between a roof over their head or homelessness,” he said.
West said he believed every working American should be entitled to at least seven calendar days per year of federally-mandated paid sick leave. “Frankly, that’s not enough. It really should be more. However, I am a pragmatic person, and I know that we must build a coalition to get this passed in the Senate and in the House,” West said.
“I will introduce this legislation when I am in the U.S. Senate, and work to build a coalition to get it passed,” he said.
“Republicans are fond of saying Texans should pull themselves up by the bootstraps. You cannot pull yourself up by the bootstraps when you can’t afford boots, and that is the situation in which many Texans find themselves,” West continued.
“We must do more for working Americans, working Texans, and small businesses,” he concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 12, 2020
CONTACT: Vince Leibowitz