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Disparities in Access to Paid Sick Leave Impact Millions Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

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The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) investigated access to paid sick leave for workers across multiple job sectors. Many families do not have access to health care, and only 30 percent of the lowest paid workers have the ability to earn paid sick leave. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 48 percent of workers in leisure and hospitality and 58 percent of workers in construction have access to paid sick leave. Alternatively, 95 percent of individuals in information services and 91 percent of workers in financial services have access to paid leave. And while some workers may have access to paid sick leave, many have jobs that are impossible to carry out from home. Many of these workers also hold positions that are public facing, which could contribute to increasing the spread of COVID-19. Of those who do have access to paid sick leave, many will not have acquired enough days to take off during the full course of their illness.

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