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09 April 2020

Tell Congress: Expand Paid Leave for People with Chronic Heath Conditions


ADVOCATE FROM HOME AND TELL CONGRESS TO - 

Expand Paid Leave for People with Chronic Health Conditions

For many people with chronic health conditions, the COVID-19 pandemic is magnifying existing financial and logistical burdens associated with their care. Currently, only people with childcare needs and parents of adults with disabilities impacted by the pandemic are eligible for paid family and medical leave under the expanded emergency use of the Family and Medical Leave Act. This policy leaves out so many who, because of serious health conditions, may require time away from work due to the risk COVID-19 poses to their health, or the health of a loved one.

As Congress develops its next legislative response to COVID-19, it’s critical that they ensure people with underlying health conditions and working members of their household receive job protection and financial support that enables them to remain at home for the duration of the pandemic.

Send a message to your members of Congress today urging them to expand eligibility for the paid family and medical leave to include people with chronic conditions and working members of their households.

Please use this letter to send to your legislators in both the House and the Senate. Click here to find out who your Senators are and here to find your Representatives. You can submit the letter online by copying and pasting the body of the letter into the email form. Be sure to select "Yes" to receive a response back.

Subject: Expand Paid Leave for People with Chronic Conditions During COVID-19

Dear [Legislator title, name],

As a constituent, I urge you to expand eligibility for the paid family and medical leave program to protect Americans who are most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy will ensure that individuals determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be at high risk for adverse complications from COVID-19 and working members of their households can remain home for the duration of this crisis.

Migraine is a neurological disease which affects more than 40 million people in the United States. Migraine is the second leading cause of years lost to disability globally and the second most disabling condition in the U.S. Many people living with migraine also have multiple comorbid conditions, including autoimmune, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases. These include asthma, diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, Celiac disease, and Crohn’s among many others. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, people with migraine who have these comorbid conditions are among the most vulnerable; evidence has shown that people with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of serious illness and death associated with COVID-19.

Currently, only people with childcare needs or adults with disabilities impacted by the pandemic are eligible for paid leave under the expanded use of the Family and Medical Leave Act for public health emergencies. This policy leaves out many hardworking Americans who, because of serious health conditions, may require time away from work to self-quarantine due to the risk posed by COVID-19.

I urge Congress to make the following changes to the paid family and medical leave program created in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act:

-          Expand eligibility for paid family leave to include anyone who, because of a serious health condition that places them at grave risk from COVID-19, has been advised by their physician to remain home

-          Expand eligibility for paid family leave or additional financial support to include anyone who has been advised by a physician to remain home because there is a member of their household who has a serious health condition that places them at grave risk from COVID-19

-          Remove the arbitrary time limit on paid leave to ensure that these individuals can remain home as long as the COVID-19 pandemic poses a risk to their health and wellbeing

-          Ensure this program applies to employers of all sizes

For many people with underlying health conditions and their circles of support, the COVID-19 pandemic is magnifying existing financial and logistical burdens associated with their care. In this time of extreme uncertainty, I urge Congress to act swiftly to enact these changes to protect the health and wellbeing of those Americans most at risk.

Sincerely,
[Advocate Name and Address] 

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