Paid sick leave keeps everyone healthier. During pandemics it’s a necessity.
In most developed countries, workers have the right to a certain number of paid sick days. It’s a policy that isn’t just rooted in generosity — during pandemics like the novel coronavirus, it can literally save lives.
When workers have to choose between earning a living and staying home sick, it incentivizes them to come to work when they’re ill and potentially infect their colleagues and anyone else they come into contact with. That’s why public health officials are concerned that millions of American workers don’t have access to paid sick days.
A disproportionate share of those workers are concentrated in occupations like food service and hospitality, where there’s the potential to infect the hundreds of customers many of them interact with every day. Those with paid sick days or the ability to work from home are at risk, too, since many of the people delivering food and other necessities don’t have that right.
When it comes to the coronavirus, we’re only as protected as our most vulnerable neighbors.
Author: Liz Scheltens