Durbin, Schneider Introduce Bill to Help State and Local Governments Provide Paid Leave to Employees During Pandemic

Lawmakers' bill would make state and local governments eligible for emergency paid leave payroll tax credits

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), along with U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced a key measure to help state and local governments provide paid leave to public employees who can’t work due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, enacted last year, provided tax credits to private-sector employers to cover the costs of paid leave during the pandemic. Congress also extended those tax credits through March 2021 in a bipartisan measure enacted in December 2020. But those measures did not make public-sector employers eligible for paid leave credits. The lack of access to the paid leave credits is putting stress on state and local governments at a time when many are grappling with additional costs brought on by the pandemic. This legislation will fix the problem by making state and local governments eligible for paid leave payroll tax credits.

“Our state and local governments are hurting from the impact of this pandemic. We can support essential workers in our states, like police, firefighters, teachers, and other public employees, by making state and local governments eligible for tax credits to help cover the cost of providing paid leave. This is a commonsense measure that I’m proud to introduce with Senator Smith and Rep. Schneider,” said Durbin.  

“Our states and local communities are leaders in our fight against the coronavirus, and they are being stretched thin on the frontlines of this crisis. Congress has to do more to support them during this pandemic. Allowing public employers such as state and local governments and public schools, utilities, and transit agencies to access the same payroll tax credits available to private businesses is a straightforward and bipartisan way to help our communities during this time of need,” said Schneider.

In addition to Durbin and Smith, the Supporting State and Local Leaders Act is supported by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

In addition to Schneider, the House companion bill has bipartisan support from U.S. Representatives John Katko (R-NY 24), and Diana DeGette (D-CO-1).

The Supporting State and Local Leaders Act is supported by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, American Council on Education, America's Essential Hospitals, American Federation of Teachers, American Library Association, American Public Power Association, American Public Transportation Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, Association of American Universities, Association of Educational Service Agencies, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO), Council of the Great City Schools, Government Finance Officers Association, International City/County Management Association, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, National Association of College and University Business Officers, National Association of Counties, National Association of Towns and Townships, National Community Development Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, National League of Cities, National Rural Education Association, National School Boards Association, National Special Districts Coalition, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

You can read the bill text here.