Release: National paid sick time and paid emergency leave benefits begin

Families First Coronavirus Response Act provisions have become available nationwide

HONOLULU, April 2, 2020 — This week, many Hawaiʻi workers have access to paid sick time and paid emergency leave for the first time as the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act became effective.

The legislation, the second in a package of bills passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, was passed to provide support to workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. See a summary below.

“Emergency paid sick and paid family leave will help many working families to continue to meet their needs,” said Deborah Zysman, Executive Director of Hawaiʻi Children’s Action Network. “This marks the first time Congress has passed paid time to care, a moment made possible by the groundbreaking work of our network and partners over the past 16 years.”

The bill was supplemented by the CARES Act, which offers enhanced unemployment insurance, strengthened nutrition security initiatives, and an increase in federal funds for Medicaid.

Hawaiʻi has no existing paid sick days nor a paid family leave program. Through Temporary Disability Insurance, a person could be eligible for leave with pay for their own care related to COVID-19, but not eligible to care for a family member who is ill, a child because of school closures, or because of quarantine orders.

To help residents cope with COVID-19, Hawaiʻi Children’s Action Network is compiling local resources, including food, financial assistance, benefits, and keiki activities, at

HCAN is also asking the public to call on the state legislature and Congress to fill the gaps in these response bills and make sure everyone can care for themselves or a loved one during the pandemic and beyond.

“We worry about the people these programs leave out,” said Zysman. “All families deserve to be able to take time to care for themselves or their loved ones without becoming economically vulnerable.”


About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

This Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides eligible workers:

  • 10 paid sick days to deal with a diagnosis, illness, quarantine or school closing related to the virus.
  • Up to three months of paid family and medical leave in the event of a closing of a child’s school or child care provider.


Media contact: Ryan Catalani
(808) 531-5502 ext. 4

Media kit: Download high-resolution graphics about the new benefits and HCAN’s new website at 

HCAN Executive Director Deborah Zysman is available for media interviews.

About Hawaiʻi Children’s Action Network (HCAN): HCAN is a nonprofit creating a unified voice for Hawaiʻi’s children. Its grassroots movement strives to ensure that all keiki are safe, healthy, and ready to learn. For more information, visit

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