President Joe Biden’s coronavirus stimulus package outlines a one-time $1,400 check to families financially affected by the virus.
Yet the fine print in the House stimulus bill sneaks in this fascinating nugget: If you’re a federal employee, you can receive $1,400 a week in paid time off for 15 weeks if you decide to stay at home and virtually school your child.
As first reported by Forbes, the carve-out is included in the bill’s $570 million “Emergency Federal Employee Leave fund,” which is exclusively reserved for federal employees.
Among those eligible are those who are “unable to work” because they are caring for school-aged children not physically in school full time “due to COVID-19 precautions[.]”
The new fund allows a federal employee “caring for a son or daughter” to qualify for the paid leave, specifically “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 childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.”
So, let’s get this straight. The Biden administration has issued school reopening guidance that effectively keeps kids at home learning indefinitely. Teachers unions are refusing to go back to in person learning and protesting at every turn. Just Wednesday, Montgomery County, Maryland teachers staged a drive-in, honking their horns in defiance of returning to in-school learning.
Meanwhile, millions of families are trying to balance work with virtual learning and child care — with only a lousy one-time $1,400 check to help compensate them for their efforts. Yet federal government employees will be paid weekly not to work. The entire thing is insane, and another example of how the swamp takes care of its own.
As Forbes notes, the drafting of the federal employee leave fund is intentionally sloppy. It doesn’t include age requirements for the children (meaning federal employees could apply for this leave even if their children are attending college), and it also would allow for government employees to receive the benefit even if their child could be in school five days a week, but the employee chooses a virtual option instead.
The entire House stimulus bill includes no financial reimbursement for working families who have decided to place their children in private schools because their school districts are virtual, even as they continue to pay school taxes. They continue to pay for a service not being rendered — with no exact timeline of when it will be.
Yet the bill does make sure to take care of its own. It’s an outright disgrace.