Congress is expected to vote on House Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID relief package later this week. We have learned about the bill's garbage, like upping the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and millions of dollars being funneled to the arts and humanities. But it turns out there's another important piece of pork that props up federal workers.
A fund of $570 million will be set aside for federal employees who can't work due to having COVID, symptoms of COVID, or are caring for someone with the virus. The kicker, however, is that the sick time can also be applied to federal employees who must stay home with their children because the kids' school is being conducted online. The federal employee can also use the sick time if the child has the option of virtual learning. Yes, that's right. Optional online learning.
The funds are available to a federal employee who "is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, if the school of such son or daughter requires or makes optional a virtual learning instruction model or requires or makes optional a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning instruction models, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions," page 306 of the bill states.
If passed, federal employees could take up to 600 hours in paid time off between now and Sept. 30. The maximum amount of money the employee can receive is $35 an hour, with a cap of $1,400 a week. That equates to 15 weeks of paid time off for a full-time employee. The math works out to $21,000 per federal employee (assuming they take the maximum amount per hour and the maximum amount of time allotted).
The only limitations the federal employee has: he or she has to use up other time on the books – likely PTO – before dipping into this fund.
In addition, federal employees also have the ability to take a 12-week unpaid leave of absence. An employee, however, can receive 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth, foster placement, or adoption of a child. Forbes reported. The Family and Medical Leave Act made both leaves of absences possible. In theory, a person can remain "employed" through 12 weeks of unpaid leave and 15 weeks of this special COVID leave.
There are no age limitations for how old the kids have to be in order for the employee to qualify for the additional benefit. That means parents with high school-aged kids (who can be at home by themselves while their parents are at work) are eligible for the benefit. And who is to say that same theory doesn't apply to federal employees with college kids? There are no parameters for how old a child has to be.
This brings about a bigger question though: why is the Biden administration allowing schools to stay on lockdown when the science shows schools are not a breeding ground for transmission? Why is the Biden administration not telling the teachers' unions to get back to work, that the science says it's safe, with or without a vaccine? Oh, that's right. The union bosses are their friends.
More than anything, however, the American people should be upset that their livelihoods aren't being taken into account with these draconian policies. What this bill says is that federal employees are deemed more important than private-sector employees. Our taxpayer dollars are good enough for the elites to take to fund their buddies in various agencies but we're not good enough to receive the same kind of benefits. How rich.