As lawmakers consider how to respond, they must include a paid leave law.
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Lack of Paid Leave Risks Public Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak
By Diana Boesch, Sarah Jane Glynn, and Shilpa Phadke
A woman wipes down common areas of an airport.
The coronavirus' rapid spread may necessitate people self-quanantine at home and may force schools and workplaces to close, putting workers in an impossible bind if they do not have access to paid sick leave.

An estimated 32.5 million individuals—or 27 percent of private sector workers—in the United States lack access to a single paid sick day to recover from an illness such as COVID-19 or to care for a sick family member without losing their job or their paycheck.

Low-income and service-sector workers—who are disproportionately women—and Latinx workers are the least likely to have access to paid sick leave.

As lawmakers consider how to respond to the urgent demands of the coronavirus, they must include a comprehensive paid leave law in addition to important health- and economic-related policies. This must include provisions for extended paid sick days and paid leave targeted toward longer-term medical needs and caregiving.

Action is needed now to lower the spread of the coronavirus and will be needed in the future.
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