Oct 9, 2020 - Health

26% of Americans know someone who went to work while sick

Data: Survey conducted by Global Strategy Group & Navigator via Paid Leave for All. Note: ±3.1% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A quarter of Americans say they know someone who has gone into work while feeling unwell, according to a survey provided exclusively to Axios by the Paid Leave for All campaign.

Why it matters: We will not be able to get the pandemic under control unless people can stay home when they're sick. Clearly, many Americans are not able to do that — especially people of color — without risking their job or their paycheck.

In March, a quarter of private-sector workers in the U.S. didn't have a single day of paid sick leave, according to an analysis of recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by the National Partnership for Women and Families.

  • But paid sick leave varies drastically by income; 69% of the lowest-income workers had no paid sick days, compared to 6% of the highest-income workers.
  • Part-time workers were much less likely to have paid sick leave than full-time workers.

The bottom line: The same groups that struggle to stay home from work — low-income Americans and people of color — are the same groups that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. That's not a coincidence.

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