“These are the people who are really living paycheck to paycheck,” said Amy Traub, an associate director of policy and research at Demos, a left-leaning think tank. “So, they have a tremendous economic need to go into work, even if they have symptoms of the flu or the coronavirus.”
Making matters worse, many workers who don’t have access to paid sick leave work in child care, restaurants, hotels, and travel where they come into contact with many people everyday and could help spread the virus. In these service occupations, more than 2 in 5 of the workers don’t get paid sick days, according to the Labor Department.
“These are folks who are serving [and] preparing food for all of the rest of us,” Traub said. “It's a recipe for contagion when...the people preparing your food cannot afford to stay home when they have a contagious disease.”