House Dems ask DeWine to create temporary paid sick leave due to coronavirus

    A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus at Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images).

    House Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Mike DeWine Monday urging him to consider creating a temporary paid sick leave program to lessen the impact a coronavirus outbreak would have on the state.

    “We appreciate that the Ohio Department of Health is asking employers to be flexible with their sick leave policies and allowing employees to stay home,” the 34 lawmakers wrote. “However, there is no guarantee employers will grant this request, and at the same time, employees who live paycheck-to-paycheck and cannot afford to stay away from their jobs will need income.”

    A release said the governor has several options to fund the program, including:

    • Declaring an emergency and using general revenue funding,
    • Utilizing money from the Controlling Board’s Emergency Purposes Fund,
    • Tapping into the Budget Stabilization Fund, which is already nearing full capacity,
    • Using TANF funds that have been reserved for emergencies and unforeseen circumstances.
    David C. DeWitt
    David C. DeWitt is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience covering Ohio politics and policy. He has worked for the National Journal, The New York Observer, The Athens NEWS and Plunderbund.com covering topics such as education, health care, crime and courts, poverty, government, business, labor, energy, environment and social issues. His work has also appeared in Government Executive, the Columbus Dispatch, Girlfriends magazine, Bleacher Report and the Ashtabula Star Beacon, among others.