A Queens lawmaker is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to support additional protections for human services providers, who are serving on the frontlines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter sent to Cuomo on March 19, state Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi thanked the governor for his leadership by taking significant measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, while mitigating the impact of the outbreak on New Yorkers.
Following the passage of the paid-sick leave bill that was signed into law by Cuomo on March 18, Hevesi is now requesting additional protections for human services providers to be enacted in the state budget.
“In times of crisis, we look to human services workers to maintain the fabric of our society,” Hevesi said. “In turn, we must provide them with the support they need and deserve.
The state assemblyman is seeking reimbursement for providers operating human services contracts for paid sick time.
“Non-profit human services providers likely will not be able to draw down on other sources of revenue to cover paid sick time for their employees,” Hevesi said. “Legislation must include funds to support these organizations.”
Additionally, since many organizations rely on part-time employees to operate programs like after-school, Hevesi said the legislation must encompass both full- and part-time staff in the event of illness.
Lastly, ensuring that paid sick leave is extended to employees who are voluntarily quarantining themselves or are directed to be quarantined by a healthcare practitioner.
According to Hevesi, at this point, with the lack of COVID-19 testing across the country, many individuals are choosing to quarantine themselves out of caution after exposures to individuals who may be infected with the virus, even if they were not instructed to do so by a medical professional — or were not able to connect with a medical professional due to strain on the system.
“It is important that this be addressed in legislation so that human services workers know that they will be compensated in the event of a voluntary quarantine,” Hevesi said.