What is the WORK NOW Act?

A targeted pandemic-recovery federal bill to help organizations retain their employees, scale their service delivery, and put newly unemployed people back to work serving their communities.

Policy Background 
Pre-pandemic, charitable nonprofits employed more than 12.5 million people, including 65% of the nonprofit sector employees being women and nearly one-in-three nonprofit employees being people of color. Charitable nonprofits make up the third largest industry in the country – larger than the construction, finance, and manufacturing industries.

Everyday these organizations are on the front lines – providing housing, food aid, mental health and counseling services, childcare, and disability assistance to those who need it most, while also uplifting faith, culture, and quality of life in communities throughout the United States. Our Nation’s charitable organizations – while struggling themselves – have largely met the increased demands for their services. Yet, charitable giving and other revenue streams for nonprofits are increasingly unpredictable in 2021 as a result of COVID-19. Since COVID-19 hit, organizations are being forced to make difficult staffing and resource decisions over how to advance their missions while struggling to remain financially viable.

As of March 2021, nonprofits have been forced to lay off staff from more than 800,000 positions, creating undue challenges particularly for women and communities of color disproportionately pushed out of the workforce due to no fault of their own as a result of the pandemic. The nonprofit sector needs a major infusion of resources to enable organizations to bring back staff and hire additional employees so they can deliver essential services for millions of Americans.

Current Status of the WORK NOW Act

Senator Klobuchar (MN) and Representative Sanchez (CA) re-introduced the WORK NOW Act on March 17th, 2021. It was referred to the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions) Committee and House Financial Services Committee. While the number of cosponsors are growing, advocacy efforts are devoted to securing the inclusion of the bill in any future economic stimulus package in Congress.

What Minnesota Nonprofits can do

  • Contact our Congressional representatives and ask them to cosponsor the WORK NOW Act and insist it be included in any future economic stimulus package in 2021.
  • Thank Senator Smith and Rep. Omar for co-sponsoring WORK NOW.
  • Tweet at your Representatives and both U.S. Senators with messages of support for WORK NOW. It’s great to let supporters know that we appreciate their work!