Our organization has been working diligently throughout this health crisis to follow the guidance of our national political and health leaders.
On March 13, 2020, the President declared a National Emergency, making it effective as of March 1st.
On 3/13/20 President Trump tweeted, "I fully support H.R.6201: Families First CoronaVirus Response Act, which will be voted on in the House this evening. This Bill will follow my direction for free CoronaVirus tests, and paid sick leave for our impacted American workers. I have directed the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations that will provide flexibility so that in no way will Small Businesses be hurt…."
On March 16, the President issued The President's Coronavirus Guidelines For America, which included, among other things, guidance on staying home from work, avoiding social gatherings, and personal hygiene advice, as well as recommendations for Governors regarding the closure of schools. The tagline of the document was "15 days to slow the spread."
Many of our school districts in Idaho were closed as of March 16th.
Based on the guidance of the President and health officials as well as the progress of the bill and the tweets and press conferences by the President, the Idaho Youth Ranch proactively implemented the required Emergency Sick Leave for our organization. Employees began taking the leave on March 16, 2020, for reasons that qualify under H. R. 6201.
H.R. 6201 states under Division E- Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act Sec. 5108 Effective date:
This Act, and the requirements under this Act, shall take effect not later than 15 days after the date of enactment of this Act. This became Public Law No: 116-127 on 3/18/2020.
The guidance issued by the Department of Labor seems to contradict the spirit of the act as well as the intent of the President and the Congress. The act was intended to get the paid support to affected workers as quickly as possible. The Department of Labor guidance, on the other hand, states the effective date for implementation beginning April 1, 2020. This seems to punish those organizations who followed the instructions of the President, health leaders, and the authors of the act. Indeed, the window for implementation of the act by the Department of Labor suggests that we should not have proactively participated in the requested "15 Days to Slow the Spread. "
Will the qualified leave that we proactively implemented to assist affected employees be allowed? We respectfully request that our organization and other organizations who implemented the required Emergency Sick Leave as of March 16th be allowed access to the funds that are called for in the act.