Paid Sick Leave
All workers need paid time off when they get sick.
While paid sick leave has always been a necessity in the US it has never been more evident than right now during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sick leave is time employees can take off of work in case of illness or safety concerns, without losing any wages. This is imperative because without this guarantee people will continue to go to work despite being sick, and not only is this bad for the individual, it is bad for public health and the overall safety of our communities.
It is not federally mandated that employers offer paid sick leave for their employees, despite a growing demand for it. Currently, in the US there are only a handful of states that require paid sick leave and even that is sometimes only restricted to certain cities in these states. Without paid sick leave, workers have to make an impossible choice between feeding themselves and their families or taking care of their own health. People of color are especially susceptible to this dilemma with poor and Latinx workers being the least likely to have access to paid sick days. Combined with the fact that nearly a quarter of Latinxs work in the service industry where they have a high level of interaction with the general public, it becomes clear that this is not just an issue of paid time off but an issue of public health.
This problem needs to be addressed and not just when we are in times of crisis. We must lean on our local and federal government to pass legislation providing paid sick leave for all workers now. It is time that the US shows that it truly values people as human beings first and workers second.