Durbin, Smith Introduce Legislative Fix To Help State And Local Governments Provide Paid Leave During Pandemic

Senators’ Bill Makes State And Local Governments Eligible For Emergency Paid Leave Payroll Tax Credits

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced a legislative fix that would help state and local governments provide public employees with paid leave when they need it most. 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law in March, requires many public and private employers to provide paid leave for workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That law provides tax credits to private-sector employers to cover the costs of paid leave. But the package did not extend those tax credits to public-sector employers. This is putting a financial strain on state and local governments at a time when many are grappling with additional costs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Durbin and Smith’s legislation will fix this problem by making state, local, and tribal governments eligible for paid leave payroll tax credits.

“Our bill provides much needed relief to state and local governments who are at the forefront of this public health crisis.  Making the tax credits for emergency paid sick and family leave created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act available to state and local governments is fair and the right thing to do,” said Durbin.  

“The coronavirus pandemic is stretching employers—including state and local governments—very thin," said Smith. "State and local governments should be eligible for tax credits to help offset the additional cost of paid leave, just like private companies. Our legislative fix will right this wrong and help support paid leave for police, firefighters and other public employees affected by the pandemic."

Along with Durbin and Smith, the Supporting State and Local Leaders Act is also cosponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

The Supporting State and Local Leaders Act is supported by the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, National Association of Towns and Townships, and the National School Boards Association.