Many of the fastest-growing jobs are low-paid and operate on shift work—when customers aren’t shopping, workers aren’t getting hours.
The spread of the coronavirus has also highlighted the divide between workers who receive paid sick leave and vacation days, and low-wage workers who don’t get paid if they have to take time off for illness.
Just 47 percent of the bottom quarter of American wage-earners have access to paid sick days, compared to 90 percent of the top quarter, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.
Nancy Harvey, a childcare provider in Oakland, does not currently accrue sick days, nor do the four people she works with.
Working Washington, which advocates for low-wage workers in that state, wants employers to allow workers to “go negative” on sick time—use sick days even if they haven’t accrued any—and to waive policies that may require a doctor’s note for people to use sick time.