Preparing For COVID-19: The Difference Paid Sick Leave Can Make
The coronavirus has spread to 35 states. But most of them, including Illinois, don’t require employers to provide paid sick leave.
Public health experts say lack of paid sick leave encourages people to work while sick, which can increase the spread of disease.
Speaking on the 21st Show, Robert Bruno, professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois and director of the Labor Education Program in Chicago, says roughly 70% of workers in the service industry do not have paid sick leave. He says cities and states that have passed paid leave laws find employers are not harmed.
“Turnover has dropped, the savings to the firm had been significant, and the economic harm that is always thrown up is really a red herring,” he said, “and there is simply no support amongst the history of social policy for such things.”
Bruno says workers who don’t have access to quality healthcare have to consider the cost of missing work and going to the doctor. Employees will often opt to go to work sick.
Legislation to mandate paid sick leave in Illinois has been introduced in the past but has never made it through both chambers. Some cities, including Chicago, have passed their own measures requiring paid sick leave.
Guests: Robert Bruno, professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois and director of the Labor Education Program in Chicago. Christopher Ingraham, data reporter at the Washington Post.
Prepared for web by WILL intern Sidney Madden.