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State disability insurance

By Staff | May 20, 2020

To the editor:

The Feds just handed over a boat load of money which Florida can spend on the pandemic. Legislators have seriously appeared on TV expressing bewilderment on how to use the funds. Seriously? How about a 14-day quarantine payment? Many states have in their unemployment bureaucracy a disability payment for convalescing workers who were not injured on the job. Florida does not. The Fed money could start such a fund in Florida. Emergency legislation could allow a five cent payroll tax to continue this funds solvency going forward. There is no reason to think that we will magically be free of coronavirus in the winter.

Adults should consider before visiting a restaurant where the 19- year-old restaurant worker serves you corona. At the height of the virus’ contagious power the carrier will not appear symptomatic. The two days before symptoms appear are, of course, the most contagious. But even with a fever most low-wage workers in the service industry will have no recourse but to show up to keep their income.

Employers demanding to open up the economy, get real quiet when you ask them if they will take any responsibility to maintain the safety of their customers except to demand amnesty from the state for “inadvertent” infection to their public. When asked if they intend to provide financially for their employees who may have to stay home because of required quarantine? The bosses of Florida get real quiet then. You can hear the crickets.

Employers should be required to have a two-week paid sick leave policy to allow workers infected to stay at home. That should be the criteria for opening. Or if the state wants to shoulder the liability for setting up a State Disability Insurance bank, the Federal money could help bridge that gap pending state legislation to subsidize the opening of unnecessary high risk businesses.

Ellen Starbird

Cape Coral