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House passes COVID-19 bill

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House passes COVID-19 bill

By Jodi Grant and Jillian Luchner.

The good news – late last week, the House of Representatives put partisanship aside to begin addressing the coronavirus pandemic, with House Bill H.R. 6201. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed the House with "yea" votes from 223 Democrats and 140 Republicans. This bill is the beginning of a process of policies and regulations to help our communities and is projected to expand paid sick leave access to over 80 million employees. Each bill passed so far gets us closer to protecting the basic and essential needs of all those affected by this pandemic and keeping people safe, but, the bill is far from perfect in addressing the needs of the children, families and communities that afterschool programs serve. While we wait for the Senate to take action on H.R. 6201, Representatives on the Hill are already working on the next series of bills to fill more gaps. Throughout this process we need to hear from you – how are local, state and federal responses to the pandemic impacting your programs, your staff and the families we serve. We want to make sure we share concerns and solutions with policy makers at every level as frequently as possible.

The current House passed bill, which is likely to be altered, has several provisions that will be helpful to our field. The bill has a number of components including provisions for free testing for all including the uninsured, and other health care issues but  rather than go deeply into these here and will focus on the areas most within our expertise:

Meals and Nutrition

  • Increased funding for SNAP/ food stamps.
  • The bill makes it easier for students to access meals normally provided at school at alternative settings if their school is closed.
  • Please let us know how your programs are impacted how families are getting access to all three meals.

Unemployment Insurance

  • Strengthening of unemployment insurance, such as flexibility in work search requirements in the case that staff has to be laid off, and more money to state programs to cover costs.

Paid Sick Leave

  • Employers with less than 500 employees are required to give employees up to two weeks paid sick leave at full pay. Part-time workers are included. There is no small employer exception.
  • Employers will be reimbursed through a payroll tax credit, provided through quarterly reimbursement. This tax credit is capped at $511 per day per employee that gets sick. The tax credit is capped at $200 per day per employee for sick leave taken to care for a sick family member.
  • Many small business and non-profits are concerned that this structure isn’t sufficient and that they cannot afford to provide paid sick leave and then wait to get the reimbursement through a tax credit. Please let us know how this impacts you.

Paid Family Medical Leave

  • Family is defined as a son or daughter under age 18, parent, or spouse (or domestic partner) of the employee; or under special circumstances (an individual who is a pregnant woman, senior citizen, individual with a disability, or has access or functional needs) the family member can be any son or daughter of any age, next of kin, grandparent or grandchild.
  • Eligible employees are those who have been employed for 30 days or more; this includes part-time employees.
  • Employers with less than 500 employees must give employees up 12 weeks paid Family and Medical Leave (FLMA) at two-thirds of an employee’s salary.
  • Small businesses with less than 50 employees can apply for an exception.
  • Paid FMLA covers leave to care for yourself or a family member that has been exposed to or is exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus. It also covers leave to take care of child whose school has closed because of the coronavirus. To qualify an employee must have been employed at least 30 days. Part time employees are included.
  • Employers will receive a tax credit for paid FMLA up $200 per employee per day, and no more than $10,000 per employee.
  • Many small business and non-profits are concerned that this re-imbursement structure isn’t sufficient and that they cannot afford to provide paid FMLA and then wait to get the reimbursement through a tax credit. Please let us know how this impacts you.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education is working on guidance for 21st CCLC Community Learning Centers grantees. It is unclear how quickly this guidance will be released. In the interim, we are hearing about creative solutions for programs that are forced to close their doors, including virtual programming. Please note that we are urging continued full funding for all 21st CCLC programs including those that are operating virtually.

We know some states and local governments are also providing guidance. Please share what you receive with us and let us know what works and what doesn’t.

On a personal note, I am so impressed with the afterschool field. I am hearing stories from across the country about how afterschool staff are at the frontlines of making sure our children and families have food and safe places to be during this pandemic. Program leaders are doing all they can to protect the health and economic security of their staff. Advocates are working together to have one voice to reach out to policy makers. We will continue to share the latest and ever changing information that we have with you.

Take care and be safe!

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Bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in Senate, would provide $1.2B in additional funding

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Learning Recovery Act introduced in the House of Representatives

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President-elect Biden nominates Connecticut Education Commissioner Cardona for Sec. of Education

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Bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in Senate, would provide $1.2B in additional funding

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Federal Policy Update: Status of FY21 Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief

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Federal Policy Update: House passes 21st CCLC Coronavirus Relief Act

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21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in House

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Learning Recovery Act introduced in the House of Representatives

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/01/21

FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and COVID-19 relief package finalized and passed

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/16/20

Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/12/20

Bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in Senate, would provide $1.2B in additional funding

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BY: Erik Peterson      10/27/20

Federal Policy Update: Status of FY21 Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/29/20

Federal Policy Update: House passes 21st CCLC Coronavirus Relief Act

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/16/20

Congress and the next COVID-19 relief bill – where do things stand?

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BY: Erik Peterson      08/19/20

New Senate bill tackles education and child care needs resulting from COVID-19

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/14/20

FY21 Appropriations process kicks off in the House

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/08/20

President Biden proposes American Rescue Plan including education funding

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President-elect Biden nominates Connecticut Education Commissioner Cardona for Sec. of Education

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/23/20

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/19/20

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BY: Erik Peterson      11/06/20

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/13/20

Trump administration proposes eliminating afterschool, again

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/10/20

FY2020 appropriations update: Afterschool funding increased!

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/17/19

Afterschool and the 2020 presidential candidates

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/26/19

House appropriators propose substantial increase to 21st CCLC afterschool funding

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/01/19

State tackles learning loss with new law on summer & afterschool STEAM engagement

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BY: Jillian Luchner      02/18/21

Two new Community School bills introduced in Congress this fall

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/10/20

New brief released: State re-opening plans reveal importance of partnerships with afterschool across a broad range of goals

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BY: Jillian Luchner      09/17/20

How states are using CARES Act funding to support afterschool & summer learning

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/24/20

How federal government funding is supporting child care in the states

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BY: Jillian Luchner      05/12/20

State flexibility supports 21st CCLC ability to adapt to COVID Emergency

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BY: Jillian Luchner      03/24/20

New York City Council considers move to universal afterschool

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BY: Chandler Hall      01/30/20

Vermont’s governor calls for universal access to afterschool programs

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BY: Erik Peterson      01/28/20

Afterschool policy 2019: State legislative round up

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BY: Jillian Luchner      12/03/19

Fireman costumes to full-on careers: October is a big month to talk career and technical education

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BY: Jillian Luchner      09/30/19