With the rapid spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), schools and businesses across the globe have closed their doors with the hope that keeping children and workers at home will help contain the outbreak. It is is very possible that schools and businesses in the U.S. will close in the coming weeks. Fortunately for workers in certain jurisdictions, they are eligible for paid sick time when their workplace or child’s school or place of care is closed for a public health emergency.
What’s more popular than college basketball in North Carolina and more popular than Philly cheese steaks in Pennsylvania? Paid family leave!
The United States stands alone among industrialized countries in failing to guarantee workers paid family leave. When a loved one has a health crisis, or when a new child is born or adopted, far too many American workers are forced to take unpaid leave or exit the workforce altogether. In fact, only 12 percent of the private sector workforce has access to paid family leave. Low-income workers and their families are especially vulnerable as they often lack the financial resources necessary to take advantage of unpaid time off.
The United States also doesn’t guarantee paid sick days, although a groundswell of recent state and local actions are changing the tide. Only 61% of workers have access to paid sick days.
Public support for paid family and medical leave as well as paid sick days is robust and cuts across demographics and party lines. New polling data released today shows just how popular paid leave is in 15 states across the country: Over 60% of those polled support paid family leave and paid sick days laws.
Additionally, according to the report:
“Nearly 60 percent of voters in the 15 states consider it very or somewhat likely they would face significant economic hardship if they were to take time away from their jobs because of a medical emergency or to care for a new child.”
This poll demonstrates once again that the United States has a great need for stronger paid leave protections nationwide!