Workers in America's largest corporations are not covered by a bill passed by the House of Representatives on Friday to support American workers affected by the spread of the novel corona virus.
The law has yet to be passed and approved by the Senate before it can be incorporated into the law, but its structure leaves a gap in the prevention strategy that the government believes is necessary to reduce the US COVID 19 outbreak.
"No American worker should be worried about missing a paycheck if he feels sick," Vice President Mike Pence said at the Coronavirus Task Force press conference on Sunday. "If you have respiratory problems, stay at home."
Millions of Americans, however, may not be able to make this choice as part of the Congress and Democrats and Republicans aid package. By excluding companies with more than 500 employees from convention assistance, the health and well-being of millions of Americans in industries that supply most of the country with goods, production, and vital services is left to the discretion of their employers.
Details of the legal compromise were first reported yesterday by the New York Times. And chart published by the New York Times illustrates how many companies did not pay sick leave when the coronavirus started spreading in the U.S. (companies have changed policies to respond to the coronavirus).
As part of a brokered agreement between the House Democrats and the White House, an offer was refused to provide guaranteed paid free time or medical leave for every US worker affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, these safeguards have been replaced by tax breaks that have been distributed to most small and medium-sized businesses to cover the cost of paying employees for downtime or healthcare emergencies caused by the novel corona virus.
Earlier this month, large technology companies took the lead in changing employee policies, and by the end of last week, many of the country's largest employers had followed suit. However, it looks like their work is not under the government's current plan – and any measures to increase sick leave and paid free time are limited to responding to the current outbreak.
These big employers have already responded by closing stores or reducing working hours in areas where most cases of the novel coronavirus have been diagnosed – and companies that operate in most of these states are required by law to have their hourly employees and Offering paid vacation to contractors.
Companies that responded to the outbreak by changing their leisure and sick leave policies include Walmart, Aim, Darden Restaurants (the owner of the Olive Garden chain), Starbucks, Lowes and KFC have joined tech companies and gig-economy companies like Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon. Apple, Facebook, Instacart, Microsoft, Postmates, Salesforce and Uber offer extended vacation services to employees who are affected by the corona virus.
This type of guarantee can make a big contribution to the fact that hourly workers in the country do not have to choose between their health and employment. The inability to pass a law that covers all workers puts everyone at risk.
Without the government intervening, industries are developing their own responses. Late Sunday, automakers like GM, Ford, and FiatChrysler, along with United Auto Workers, announced the creation of a coronavirus task force to coordinate an industry-wide response for the automotive sector.
As the Pew Research Center noted last week, the House Democrats' proposed law initially proposed temporary federal sick leave for workers with COVID-19 or caring for family members with two-thirds of their wages for up to three months. The measure would also have guaranteed that private employers would give workers seven days of paid sick leave and 14 days in the event of future public health emergencies.
Most workers have less than nine days of sick leave covered by current state legislation. There is no national mandate for paid sick leave. After a year in the job, 22 percent of workers have access to less than five days, while another 46 percent of workers can get five to nine days of paid sick leave. Only 38 percent of employees have between ten and fourteen days of vacation.
The Pew Research Center also reported that the lack of access to paid sick leave increases with falling wages. Over 90 percent of workers who receive $ 32.21 hourly anger have some form of paid sick leave. Only about 50 percent of workers earning $ 13.80 or less have access to paid illness. For Americans earning less than $ 10.80 an hour, only about 30 percent get sick leave.