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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 9, 2020 10:35 AM
From: Senator Steven J. Santarsiero
To: All Senate members
Subject: Protecting Workers During Public Health Emergencies

No one should have to fear losing their job, through no fault of their own, during a public health emergency. In the United States, the power to isolate and quarantine exists at both the federal and state level. Unfortunately, most states, including Pennsylvania, do not address whether an employer can fire an employee while under quarantine or in isolation. That’s why I’ll be introducing legislation to protect workers from retaliation when they take leave during public health emergencies, like the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

On March 6, 2020, Governor Wolf signed an emergency disaster declaration to provide increased support to state agencies involved in the response to the virus. The state has already sent legal quarantine notices to the individuals with presumed positive cases of the virus. Fortunately, the individuals in the state with presumed positive cases of the virus have voluntarily quarantined themselves at home, which will end when they’ve been without symptoms for 14 days.

However, we need to support workers so they can take the necessary precautions to prevent the spreading of the disease, without fear of repercussions from their employer. Workers should not be fired if they’ve been quarantined or isolated during a public health emergency.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.