The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which recently passed the House, contains $1400 stimulus checks. But some federal workers will have more than one check. They can get paid time off with up to 15 checks of $1400 each.
Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund
Neatly tucked within the $1.9 trillion emergency aid package is the $570 million Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund. This budget is exclusive for federal workers who need to stay home to tend to their kids. Thus, this will fund the paid time off for federal workers with children enrolled in schools yet to return to in-classroom instruction. “If the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, if the school of such son or daughter requires or makes optional a virtual learning instruction model or requires or makes optional a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning instruction models, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to Covid-19 precautions;” according to the guidelines.
Critics call it a personal bailout for bureaucrats. It comes as a time when millions of American parents struggle to manage households between remote work and remote schools. Meanwhile, millions more had to leave their jobs to care for kids stuck at home.
$1400 Stimulus Checks Until September 30
The $570 million funds are available until September 30. Full-time federal employees can use up to 600 hours in paid leave until September 30. This means paid leaves up to $35 an hour or $1,400 a week. This means qualified federal workers can get up to $1,400 checks a week for 15 weeks. In addition, part-time and seasonal employees can avail of the fund as well. Their agencies will establish equivalent hours.
Presently, federal employees have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Workers can use this for birth, foster placement, or adoption of a new child. In addition, the Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund did not set age limits for kids that are homeschooling. Critics point out that parents of college-aged children can use this for paid time off. In addition, if schools are conducting hybrid or optional virtual learning, parents can still qualify for the fund. However, parents with children enrolled in schools that already opened are ineligible.
Asked to explain the legislation, Democrat Representative Carolyn Maloney (NY) said last Friday that the Covid-19 relief legislation expands emergency leave for federal and postal workers. She said the measure means federal workers won't need to “choose between their jobs or caring for loved ones who get infected with coronavirus,” which is an odd thing to say. The provisions for the fund do not mention anything about caring for infected family members.
Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, which is a conservative 501 organization, criticized the measure. “Wow. The BidenBucks bill pays federal employees up to 15 weeks of paid leave at $1400 per week if they have to stay home to virtual school kids,” he said. “You get $1400 once. They get it every week for 15 weeks. Swamp takes care of swamp,” he added.
Watch the Bloomberg Quicktake video reporting that the Senate may take up Biden's $1.9 Trillion stimulus bill on Wednesday:
Do you support the Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund? Do you agree that gives federal employees more support compared to regular Americans? Let us know what you think about this insertion into the American Rescue Plan. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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