WASHINGTON - Congresswoman Jahana Hayes joined fellow House Democrats in introducing legislation to protect the safety of health care workers caring for patients with the coronavirus. The COVID-19 Worker Protection Act of 2020 (H.R. 6139) would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to ensure health care facilities implement comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plans. These protocols would keep front line health care workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issue guidance to protect health care workers, the guidance is not binding and OSHA currently has no enforceable standard to protect workers from airborne infectious diseases, leaving the nation’s health care workers at an elevated risk of exposure to the coronavirus at a time when they are needed most.
“The onset of this crisis has revealed serious vulnerabilities for our health care workforce, who need to be provided with the proper protective supplies and guidance in order to keep themselves and their communities safe. As these frontline employees work to protect the well-being of patients with COVID-19A, it is essential that we protect them as well,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “If health care workers fear coming to work due to risks, this apprehension will have devastating implications for not only CT-05 but for communities across the country.”
Today, Governor Lamont and the state of Connecticut declared Public Health and Civil Preparedness Emergencies. The emergency declarations provide the governor with the authority to take specific, swift actions determined necessary to protect the safety and health of residents in the state. The declarations trigger price gouging laws and make clear that municipal leaders have emergency powers to mitigate disasters and emergencies.
Last week, Congresswoman Hayes voted on a bipartisan $8.3 billion emergency supplemental appropriations package, which the President signed into law. This legislation will provide billions in funds that can be used to improve testing capabilities at the state level, support diagnostic test development, and help community health centers on the front lines of the public health crisis.
Congresswoman Hayes also joined with Congresswoman DeLauro to introduce the Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal Family Care Act. This crucial legislation would guarantee all workers receive an additional 14 paid sick days in the event of a declared public health emergency. While Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines advise people to stay home if they are sick, for many workers—including people in the service industry —staying home from work means losing a paycheck or losing their job.
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including guidance and other resources, all residents in the state are encouraged to visit https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus
Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public-school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.
Currently serving her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.