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PRI interviewed Dr. Jody Heymann, distinguished professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, on the importance of paid sick leave as a tool to fight the pandemic.
The US lags behind all other developed countries when it comes to sick leave. And when sick people come to work, viruses are harder to contain. By conservative estimates, at least 20 million Americans go to work sick because of a lack of sick leave.
Democrats like New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand want more. "We want mandatory paid sick leave for up to two weeks," she told MSNBC Friday. "We also want paid family and medical leave, because if your child's school has shut down, you can't choose between caring for a child and getting a paycheck."
The Democratic-led US House of Representatives will pass a coronavirus economic aid package on Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, which would provide for free coronavirus testing and two weeks of paid sick and family leave for those affected by the virus. It was unclear whether President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans would support it.