In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unconscionable that Senate Republicans have blocked an emergency paid sick leave bill from coming to the Senate floor.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals exposed to the novel coronavirus self-quarantine for 14 days. But many workers in jobs with the greatest exposure to the public are among those least likely to have access to paid sick days.
The spread of COVID-19 has highlighted the absurdity of a situation in which 93 percent of the highest paid workers have access to paid sick days compared to just 30 percent of the lowest paid workers. Workers in jobs ranging from aides in nursing homes to retail clerks to childcare workers are unlikely to be able to afford to lose a week’s pay and may be unable to take time off from work.
The Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act introduced by Patty Murray in the Senate and Rosa DeLauro in the House is a common sense response to what may soon be recognized as a national emergency. Refusing to allow it to get a hearing on the Senate floor shows a callous disregard for the well-being of Americans that should be widely condemned.
*Eileen Appelbaum, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)