In most developed countries, workers have the right to a certain number of paid sick days. It’s a policy that isn’t rooted in just generosity — during pandemics like the novel coronavirus, it can literally save lives.

When workers have to choose between earning a living and staying home sick, it incentivizes them to come to work when they're ill, and potentially infect their colleagues and anyone else they come into contact with. That’s why public health officials are concerned that millions of American workers don’t have access to paid sick days. And a disproportionate share of those workers are concentrated in occupations like food service and hospitality, where there’s potential to infect the hundreds of customers many of them interact with every day.

Further reading:
The Italian Ministry of Health

World Health Organization

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Pew Research Center

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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