While many retailers and fast-food chains offer two weeks of paid sick leave when employees get COVID-19, these policies often require a coronavirus diagnosis or official quarantine recommendation, making the polices inaccessible for many workers.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring companies in the food sector to offer two weeks of paid leave to full-time workers that are exposed to COVID. Part-time workers are also covered, to a lesser extent.
The Shift Project's report on paid sick leave highlights service industry workers' lack of access to this benefit. The report also identifies the economic hardships workers face, finding that a higher percentage of women report a lack of access to sick paid leave than men.
The Shift Project's report highlights a lack of paid sick leave access service workers have across the largest companies and the even smaller percentage that can take two weeks off to self-quarantine after COVID exposure.
The cities of San Jose and San Francisco passed emergency bills that require large companies to give all their employees 14 days of paid sick leave if they contract COVID-19. The federal coronavirus bill, which guarantees 14 days of paid sick leave and leave time for issues related to COVID, exempts business with less than 50 employees or more than 500, and as result, the bill only covers about 25% of all workers.
NBC Bay Area finds that workers are worried about taking time off from work because they may lose their jobs otherwise. In their investigation, NBC points out to the nearly 20 million workers receive little or no paid sick leave from their employers, which is further explored in The Shift Project's findings.
Due to the crisis, many companies are hiring additional workers, but current part-time employees at these companies express wanting more hours and are worried about their stability and futures. Daniel Schneider points out that current financial struggles may not only continue affecting existing employees, but also the new ones.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, four in ten workers do not have access to paid sick leave. The Shift Project's March 2020 report examines some of the top retailers and food chains, with a significant percentage of workers not having access to paid sick leave at many of these companies.
Initially, Kroger announced a new paid sick leave policy that would give employees 14 paid days to anyone diagnosed with COVID or placed under mandatory quarantine, a policy that has been described as insufficient. However, after the publishing of the article, Kroger announced an expansion to include anyone told to self-isolate by a health care professional.