Dear [elected official],
On behalf of UsAgainstAlzheimer's Action, the Paid Leave Alliance for Dementia Caregivers, and the more than 16 million family caregivers providing care for a loved one living with Alzheimer's or a related dementia, I am writing to urge you to include the emergency paid sick days and paid leave provisions contained in the House-passed HEROES Act in any future coronavirus relief package.
These provisions, nearly identical to the emergency provisions outlined in the PAID Leave Act from the last Congress, S. 3513, would close the loopholes left by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and help support millions of family caregivers of older adults.
As you consider future economic relief legislation, we encourage you to ensure that caregivers of older adults are protected by expanding paid leave benefits to cover those who need it, including:
- People who are caring for loved ones with a serious medical condition like Alzheimer's disease and related dementias who have not been quarantined or show symptoms of COVID-19.
- People whose loved one's caregiving arrangements and adult daycare centers are no longer in operation due to caregiver illness (including home health aides) or closures due to COVID-19 and related quarantine recommendations or requirements.
- People who work at a company with more than 500 employees; those large companies are exempted from the paid family leave requirement.
The Bipartisan Policy Center has found that 16% of Latino adults and 13% of Black adults have left the workforce during COVID19 due to caregiving responsibilities for a family member or relative. These families have been shortchanged by previous legislation given the lack of paid leave protections for family caregivers.
Paid leave is an effective tool for supporting unpaid family caregivers during times of crisis. According to research from UsAgainstAlzheimer's, one-half of employed dementia caregivers reported that utilization of paid leave benefits improved their ability to provide quality care to a loved one and emotional well-being. Paid leave is also a proven tool for reducing transmission of COVID-19, and the top relief policy voters consistently ask for.
I hope that as you negotiate the next coronavirus response package, you will keep in mind the health and caregiving needs of America's working families and expand paid leave benefits for caregivers of older adults.