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Expand chart
Data: Health Affairs; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Lower-wage workers in the U.S. were the most likely to report missing work due to COVID-19, but the least likely to have access to paid sick days or family leave, according to a new report out in Health Affairs on Monday.

Why it matters: The gaps in paid leave policies is the latest evidence of food insecurity experienced during the pandemic among Americans who had to miss work because they were sick or had to take care of someone who was sick.

Taking half a day off may result in lost wages worth a household's monthly budget of fruits and vegetables, the report says.

  • But "being forced to miss an entire week without pay could result in a substantial lack of food."

By the numbers: Census Household Pulse Survey data collected by the study authors over the past year and a half showed workers earning less than $50,000 were more than four times as likely on average as workers earning $100,000 or more to report missing a whole week of work due to COVID-19 last year.

  • Many low-income households, which are twice as likely to be unvaccinated, and people of color cited postponing their shot to avoid missing work and wages needed to afford necessities like food, the authors write.
  • On the flip side, experts have argued, expanding paid sick leave policies could have a positive impact on vaccination rates by offering workers time to get the shot and leeway to recover from potential vaccine side effects.

What to watch: Paid medical leave policies are among the major issues Congress remains at an impasse over this week.

Go deeper

Updated 18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

America's workers rush back to labor force

Expand chart
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics via FRED; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The big shocker of Friday's jobs report: More than half a million people entered the labor force, the biggest influx in over a year.

Why it matters: A giant cloud over the recovery — the snail-like pace workers have returned — may be starting to clear.

A tale of two jobs reports

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Whatever you think about the economy, you’ll find something in this morning’s conflicting jobs report to reinforce your views: America's job market is white-hot and the labor market is anemic.

Between the lines: The conflict comes from the two separate surveys the government uses to compile the report.