The Companies Putting Profits Ahead of Public Health

Mar 14, 2020 · 736 comments
rar (L.A.)
It is time to boycott!
S.P. (MA)
An article published in the New York Review of Books last week suggested that the extra money the U.S. pays for not having M4A now imposes a greater burden than the punitive damages imposed on Germany by the treaty of Versailles. Those damages famously brought Germany to the brink of collapse, and have been attributed by many to have been a factor in the rise of Hitler.
Mike (NYC)
Worlds. Most. Backward. Country.
Lynn Taylor (Utah)
It's just shameful. Looking at just one - Walmart - it is obvious from these filthy rich - inherited - Walton family members could absolutely afford to give their employees paid sick leave, as well as a very healthy raise in hourly wages and other benefits. What do these filthy rich people think they are going to spend all those billions of dollars on, before they die??? They are greedy, selfish drones, a plague on any society. They need to be taxed out of billionairehood, and made to share the profits with their employees, as their father, Sam Walton, intended. Shame on them. Shame on all the rest of those companies too.
Guido Malsh (Cincinnati)
Simply sickening ...
Carol (Boulder CO)
Shame on all of them...shame
just Robert (North Carolina)
The other day I wrote a post praising Pelosi for the bill giving sick leave to our workers without coverage. I take it back and regret not reading the fine print as the bill seems now to be just a sop to big business and a slap to endangered workers. Why did Pelosi agree to this cow towing to Republicans? She should be ashamed.
Dr. Conde (Medford, MA.)
This is why we need to counterbalance Trumpist policies that favor profit over citizen's lives. Yes, make a profit, but also pay your taxes so we can support policies that benefit everyone. Health care should be nationalized as should the right to stay home and be paid if you are sick. Otherwise, sick people, including those with Covid-19, will go to work. What good is profit if you're dead?
Becca Helen (Gulf of Mexico)
We have all had that experience of.being exposed to SICK employees. It really should be outlawed. It's easy to tell a sick person, be it at the deli, a cashier or a gazillion other scenarios. I simply will stop engaging, and ask for another employee to help me. Most will become defensive, but I am quick to explain that it's the only way to encourage a change of policy. This should be a human right!
Harry B (Michigan)
Are we great yet?
Dr. Gerald M. Levitis (Mahopac, NY)
Do not forget that Typhoid Mary was a food service worker who kept on returning to cooking jobs and thus passing deadly typhoid disease to the customers because she had o other way of earning her living when she got out of prison.
northlander (michigan)
Hunker is closed for the season.
Paul Wertz (Eugene, OR)
“That’s a matter between us and our associates,” she said. And visiting your business is a matter between me and myself.
MinnRick (Minneapolis, MN)
No better time than a national emergency to advance the leftist social agenda! Leverage that fear and uncertainty to get government-sponsored and government-mandated.. everything! It's a wonder anyone respects any national media anymore.
CTJ (Toronto)
Yup, greatest country in the world.
D. Fuller (Vermont)
Does this mean The NY Times editorial board will be endorsing Bernie Sanders? This is the same idea Bernie has been preaching for years with nothing to show for it. If the Times does endorse Biden I do hope they’ll send him a copy of this editorial And pushes the man to work this idea through Congress.
hawk (New England)
And if small business has no customers, how do they pay the help? We are not evil people, we are also trying tosurvive
Sasha (CA)
Paid Sick Leave is standing between US and Thousands of COVID19 deaths. How much will that cost everyone in the long run? Capitalism with be the death of US.
Mike DeMaio (Los Angeles)
Can’t take care of everyone. That’s what communism guarantees. Not here.
Kerry Leimer (Hawaii)
Huh. McDonald's for sure. But even "Hobby Lobby"?
David J (NJ)
Your boss should be reported back to corporate.
BornInDaEB (Via Lactea)
In-N-Out Burger rocks!
Emil (CVG)
Hours cut? Retaliated against? How about FIRED! I worked in restaurants some time ago, and one of my last ones, the policy was simple. You called in sick....YOU had to find your own replacement. Cant get hold of anyone? Nice working with ya! FIRED Welcome to the reality of the restaurant world.
Alice M (Ireland)
This is shocking. I left US restaurant work as a waitress/ burger server some 40 odd years ago and we had sick leave. I don't know if it was a State law or not but I don't think it was unusual at that time. I had no idea so much of the US labor force now has none. None! It's unthinkable. The consequences are obvious and inhumane. It's things like sick leave that would make America great again. Why on earth would anyone vote for a Republican?
Pete (Phoenix)
Everyone who profits financially through the efforts of their employees should be required to have paid sick leave. Period. Full stop.
Bev s (Connecticut)
As a worker at Stop and Shop grocery stores and A union member, sick leave was covered and what we didn’t use in a year we were paid. No complaints
dave (NE)
Remember, corporations generally have zero money except that money generated by the work of employees --- sick pay is not a gift from companies to workers -- sick pay is the workers' money
Tony from Truro (Truro)
I agree that sick workers should not work, however I would let the market place decide. Not Government. Interesting to see Trader Joes named.
Peter (Austin, TX)
The NY Times spent the primary telling people stop being mean to businesses and expecting them to do the right thing. Now they are acting surprised that businesses don't care about the public.
Malinoismom (Spirit)
My late husband and I are RN's. Every hospital we worked at gave us PTO that could be used for vacation or sick time, or we had the option of taking unpaid time for a sick call-off. If we got sick, we were still expected to show up, even with something like the flu. "Just put on a mask, everything will be fine" was pretty much what our supervisors said. Patients go to the hospital expecting to get better, not sicker. I used to tell coworkers that if you are sick enough to need a mask to contain your germs, you're too sick to work.
Jon K (Phoenix, AZ)
This article ought to put to rest the fallacy that the private sector knows best how to treat its workers - but as ever, conservatives are content to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that nothing's wrong. The fact is that most of the private sector will not provide any sort of benefits to the employees if they can get away with it. The idea that companies, in "competition" for workers, will strive to provide better and better benefits is mere fantasy; more often than not, they'll see which of their competitors provides the least benefits, and join them in that low level thanks to the short-sighted belief that paid sick leave and annual leave reduces productivity. To those who say that unscrupulous employees will abuse it and maximize their "time off" work, let me ask you; is it worth making an entire workforce suffer because of a few bad eggs? Let us join the rest of the developed world in guaranteeing our workforce a minimum paid sick leave and annual leave.
Glen (Texas)
Frankly, I find it disgusting, reading the excuses employers give for not offering paid sick leave as an employment benefit, especially the multi-million, multi-billion behemoths whose upper echelons take their salaries (not weekly wages) for granted, regardless of whether they show up on the job on any given day for any given reason. This country has no choice, if it has any intention of surviving this pandemic economically and morally intact, but to rely on one of the basic tenets of socialism: All for one; one for all.
kirk (kentucky)
Nancy Pelosi spent twenty four hours in negotiation with Mnuchin who complemented Pelosi for being continuously available. The hole that Pelosi left in the House bill that the editorial board referred to was part of the deal. The Republican Senate gets to fill that hole and take a big share of the credit for the relief they provide to the working poor. McConnell had to take a time out with his Senate to explain and encourage his charges to go along with the deal. Just a guess.
Country Life (Rural Virginia)
I would never eat at a fast food place, or any restaurant, knowing that sick employees are working because they are in fear of losing their jobs if they call in sick. NEVER.
Ian Maitland (Minneapolis)
The Times should heed Hippocrates' injunction to physicians, "First do no harm." The ignorance of the Times is beyond invincible. The Times should read its own editorial. It says that "throughout history, outbreaks of infectious diseases have often served as catalysts for overdue changes in the social compact, including the creation of public health authorities and water and sewer systems." Yes, that is right, PUBLIC SOLUTIONS FOR PUBLIC PROBLEMS. It is both outrageously unfair and economically destructive to force businesses to pick up the tab for society's debts. Infectious diseases are a threat to all of us. So all of us should pick up the tab for them. (It would be different if conditions at the businesses had contributed to the infectious disease). It is economically foolish because in times of epidemics, many businesses' backs are to the wall, because of the disruption of markets. The Times' suggestion would drive many of them out of business -- at a time when we can least afford it. I suggest that in this crisis Donald Trump and the New York Times should keep their traps shut so they don't do more harm.
MaryAnn Dube (Longwood Florida)
What this editorial isn’t saying is that many or most of these workers are classified as part time if they work under 40 hours a week, and there are no federal laws requiring them to. This ugly loophole is used and abused. Time to change that, too.
Malinoismom (Spirit)
My late husband and I are RN's. Every hospital we worked at gave us PTO that could be used for vacation or sick time, or we had the option of taking unpaid time for a sick call-off. If we got sick, we were still expected to show up, even with something like the flu. "Just put on a mask, everything will be fine" was pretty much what our supervisors said. Patients go to the hospital expecting to get better, not sicker. I used to tell coworkers that if you are sick enough to need a mask to contain your germs, you're too sick to work.
Paid sick leave is much more than a company's 'willingness to pay'. Small companies especially face real hardship with an employee out- REGARDLESS of whether they pay sick leave. To simply say they MUST offer it fails to recognize the real issue. Customers of these smaller companies simply have to be willing to recognize the cost and be prepared to pay a fair price for the goods and services. Do we really need pizza for 99 cents a slice? Or to have our food delivered to our doorstep for a few bucks? How many people think nothing of paying $5 bucks (or more) for a coffee and then begrudge a Taxi driver a few dollars for a ride across town? Or will order from Amazon to save a few dollars vs buying in their local shops? These benefits and fair wages come at a price- and Americans have to be willing to pay their neighbors a fair wage and their local businesses a fair price. Maybe then paid sick leave won't be the 'burden' to small businesses it is today.
ALM (Brisbane, CA)
Restaurant workers don't get paid when they are sick. Now, a lot of them won't be paid because their services will not be needed. Certainly, not a fair deal.
JAB (Daugavpils)
Eventually the worker will have no choice but to get the pitchfork out, sharpen it and go after the CEOs that are destroying our country. Until that happens, it will just get worse and worse even when the COVID-19 has been eliminated. I am 77 years old and would be happy to join the revolt against the 0.1%. No better way to end my life than helping to bring back decency and compassion to my adopted country! God Bless America!
Mike (NJ)
Walmart has 347,000 employees without sick leave. Walmart’s annual profit typically exceeds $3 billion ($3.8 billion for 2019). The Walton family’s net worth exceeds $200 billion. And now the US taxpayers will help cover sick leave costs for Walmart’s hourly workers. How despicable is that?
Lori B. (Pennsylvania)
We forget that many white collar workers don't really have paid sick leave. They have "paid time off" that can be used for vacation OR sick leave. Do you want to lose a relaxing day off because you took a sick day? That's a decision some companies force you to make. Everyone should get both paid sick leave AND vacation time. Period.
Steven of the Rockies (Colorado)
Mr Barr and Trump also attempted to extort Germany to hand over Coronavirus research for vaccines or diagnostic testing, in hopes of a trillion dollar try t o help the Trump recession of 2020.
Mark F. (Arizona)
It is all about greed, even during a national emergency.
Perry Bennett (Ventura)
"It is a decision for which Americans should hold businesses accountable." It is a decision for which Americans should hold REPUBLICANS accountable!
VKilpatrick (NOLA)
Wisdom from Daniel Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year, a diary of London in 1665 during The Great Plague: "Then he proceeded to tell me of the mischievous results which attended the presumption of the Turks and Mahometans in Asia and in other places in which he have been ... they would go unconcerned into infected places and communicate with inflamed folks, with the aid of which means they died at the price of ten or fifteen thousand every week, whereas the Europeans or Christian merchants, who stored themselves retired and reserved, commonly escaped the contagion."
Jon F (MN)
If paid sick leave is a public good then the public should pay for it, not the employers.
Jake (Texas)
Why in the world would the CEO and board of these companies give paid sick leave to their employees? You can't be serious. This would cause them to make less money, meaning less money for their spouses and kids. Let the American Taxpayer pay for their healthcare via Medicaid, etc.
Bk (US)
Is paid sick leave universal for health care workers?
Arturo Belano (Austin)
I don't do business with the worst offenders here anyway. This gives me all the more reason to boycott them.
Ted Nadel (Canada)
Make America Great again ..How about just making it Good for a start.
Bob Tonnor (Australia)
What! Companies putting profits ahead of public health! I just dont believe it, this IS a new thing isnt it?
Mulder (St. Paul, MN)
Amazon has over 575,000 non-salaried employees that do all the work of getting packages out the door to customers quickly, but they don't get any paid sick leave; they only get UPT (Unpaid Time Off) for up to 80 hours per year. If any virus or family medical issue caused them to go over that 80 hour cap, they'd get fired automatically. Meanwhile, the salaried employees (the so-called “managers” who often don't have the qualifications for their job and do no real work) get a big salary, year-end bonus, stock options, paid healthcare, and plenty of Paid Time Off with no fear of being fired for taking more than allocated. And Jeff Bezos thinks he can't afford too pay all workers at least $70,000 plus full benefits? He's a liar.
David (Major)
paid sick leave? how about the 'non-profit' companies we call health systems that are sitting on 100s of billions in cash 'surpluses'.....
Thanks for the important investigation here. Both Schneider and Harknett have PhDs, so they should be referred to as Dr. Schneider and Dr. Harknett, no?
Jay (Cleveland)
Your numbers are being quoted out of context, and misleading. Your statement that paid sick leave cost employers about 2.7 cents an hour is rubbish. That was the quoted extra amount an employer pays employees who already have sick pay, who will take an extra 2 hours off each year. Do some real math. 20 employees making $10 an hour. That’s $400,000 payroll a year, 40,000 hours. Times .027 (2.7 cents per hour). That would be $1,080 dollars, or just $54 dollars of sick pay per employee per year. At $20,00 an hour, you would still get only $54 per year in sick pay. Did the authors misread the data, or was misleading the reader their intent?
Tabitha Simmons (Albany NY)
Add William Sonoma, West Elm and Pottery Barn to the list of companies not caring about employees. Not a word or peep from them except to cut payroll of all part time employees..cut payroll! No contact with i divas employees...callous company.
CMac (Cali)
I have a small business. Months without money coming in means... I don’t have a business. And there are MILLIONS of us. A “payroll tax” benefit, or a “near zero” Fed rate does NOTHING for us. This is literally exponentially worse than the 2008 “recession” - and NO ONE in Washington even seems to understand that. Is it too late to vote for Andrew Wang??? I could use a $1000 a month.
Paul Longhouse (Bay Roberts)
Trump's response to the virus proves that he prefers personal political profit over anything else. He's a megalomaniac - it's all about him, even when it isn't. Chrump has shown no leadership on the issue of paid sick leave and given his own history of not paying the workers who built and worked in in his money-laundering casinos, we can expect little to nothing in terms of leadership or integrity from "the Donald" - calling him "POTUS" is like calling Daffy Duck the CEO of Warner Brothers.
Selena61 (Canada)
I look at that list and I see a bunch of highly profitable corps that believe that it is their right to not only short-change their employees, but show cavalier disregard for the general well-being of their customers as well. Ain't capitalism great. Here's a thought for Hobby Lobby, instead of paying millions for bogus Dead Sea Scroll droppings, give your employees sick pay.
Observer (midwest)
This is is just the sort of editorial to make so many of us skeptical about covid-d and regard it as a media-induced panic to push a liberal agenda. There are any number of "causes" that could be pinned on this epidemic like so many tails on the donkey at a child's birthday party. So . . are we faced with a medical problem or a useful device to put over certain political causes? Why not be patient? There will be plenty of time ahead to pick the bones of Covid- victims for partisan purposes.
Eva Lockhart (Minneapolis)
Take note companies--including my hometown corporate headquarters of Target--you should all be ashamed of yourselves and don't expect me to cross your paths any time soon.
Jon Hall (Ruckersville, VA.)
I noticed that at least two of the most vocal "wear Christianity on your sleeve" companies are noted as not having paid sick leave. Those are Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A. I would guess that "being saved" applies only to the afterlife.
Ratza Fratza (Home)
America has to flip this income scale around so that people who make people rich get a larger share of what they create. Every time republicans get close to the treasury they launder it for the Boomerang Effect they get when they disproportionately send their own campaign donations to the 1% and it flies right back into their laps. Seems to be their reason for existence so they can get right back in for the same dishonest scam all over again. I don't know where republicans represent America short of Guns and Anti Abortion. They seem to be completely dishonest, esp. McConnell who prevents hundreds of bills from even being debated or voted on. That's Tyranny. Republicans are even anti consumer and that's Everybody. Pro Pollution ???
Lawrence (Washington D.C,)
Many small companies do not have the reserves to pay everybody to stay home for two weeks. Making payroll and your contributions is a struggle for small business. Some sot of forgiveness on workman's comp needs to factored in at a minimum. If in addition you have perishable inventory. What you get as a write off won't cover costs. Harbor Freight put this in an email out to it's customers. " And impacted associates will be compensated for their missed work hours. '' Eric Smidt, Harbor Freight Tools Founder
Jack van Dijk (Cary, NC)
@Lawrence Thus those companies have no right to exist, because they endanger other members of society, you and I.
Maria Cate (San Francisco)
To the New York Times: Please provide your readers a list of all large business that do not provide and encourage the use of permanent paid sick leave of at least two weeks so that we can let them know that we are boycotting them for putting us all at risk.
ez (USA)
A small business with few workers is more impacted than a big company is when a worker calls in sick. Why not compromise and let a small company just pay regular time instead of time and a half to work off the sick time taken.
Edward (Philadelphia)
Are they putting profits ahead of public health or their economic survival?
Alternate Identity (East of Eden, in the land of Nod)
Regarding the food service industry, there are many, many independent restaurants which do not provide sick leave. It is not just the chains. In these places you can (and I am speaking from experience) find employees working for below minimum wage, ten to twelve hour shifts with straight time for overtime, no vacation, no sick leave, no other compensation. I can also remember having to pay for my own uniforms and having to pay my supervisor (the son of the owner) "fees" to get shifts. But, nobody cared then and nobody cares now. Remember, such workers are instantly replaceable. You kick the body aside and hire another ...
Steve (Washington, DC)
There is another layer of companies ignoring public health in favour of profits -- the airlines. In an opening statement on United Airlines website, they write they are putting customer and employee health above all else. NOT SO. I was in Switzerland when Trump announced he was closing the doors to Europe because of CV-19. I immediately tried to change my return flight home. United said it would cost an addition $7,000 -- that's policy, they said. I checked the flight -- assuming would be full. United flew the plane home with many, many vacant seats, but still tried to gouge customers for changing their plans and wanting to return home to their families. Shame on you United!
PB (Earth)
"...earn up to seven days..."? That's not enough, this coronavirus already needs you to be out of public circulation for at least 14. And no one should have to "earn" them. They should be part of what you get for being a human being doing a job. Paid sick leave should be what it needs to be as determined for the first 3 days of an absence by the employee, and any more than that by a doctor. And this should be per-absence, not in a year.
Rhonda (Pennsylvania)
Like many have stated, all the paid time off/sick pay in the world doesn't matter if you are flat out denied when you try to call off and subject to microaggressions by management when you do. Companies don't just not want to invest in sick leave, they often don't want to invest in their employees' training, in their careers (keeping them in unsatisfactory part-time positions with no benefits) and so on, often leading to high turnover and increasing reliance and intense pressure on those who remain. Managers fear especially when "valuable" long-term/full-time employees covering shifts, especially in retail or direct care, call off because they don't often have the depth to cover those shifts. So they resort to lying to or threatening those who call off sick in attempt to guilt them into staying. The guilt-tripping works on many, and those who hold their ground may find themselves on the wrong side of management, in which they don't get to advance or get raises, and have extra work piled on them as punishment.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
People making fair profits selling needed services should not be a problem if we all work together. There will always be knuckle heads who try to make fast money with no concern for consequences. But we have bigger concerns right now. People need to consider what they are doing and what might happen. The CDC is recommending not joining in gatherings of more than fifty people. But consider this, on a long bus ride there may be only twenty people on the bus at a time but over one hundred may actually ride the bus over that trip, getting on and then off.
Companies such as Apple and Google should give away computers and/or iPads and Tablets, respectively to "homeless" and financially deprived students. It is imperative that these students continue to follow their school lessons projected via the internet. These students also should be given one year's free Internet Services. As many of the public schools and libraries are being shut down, the financially poor students no longer the same access to education as do their the students whose parents can afford pruchase computers and an internet connection for their homes.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Private businesses are not responsible for providing any needs which will put them out of business. They will profit during pandemics and national emergencies or they will close. There is no reason why society should not force them to help out and forego profits in times of emergency except the crazy idea that government in our country is not answerable to the people. Government can offset costs incurred by doing the right thing for society.
rafaelx (San Francisco)
But it will not be enough unless we force, and not be timid about it, workers who are sick not to be permitted to work. Paid sick leave and a rule of law that prohibits sick workers from entering work place will grandly protect us from the spread of diseases. Paid sick leave won't be as much money as a worker may make in the service industry which will make tempting for workers to attend work despite their diseases. The CDC and employers must develop a way to detect sick workers and force them to stay home.
Kip Leitner (Philadelphia)
Why has the real news disappeared? The important thing is that companies under 50 and over 500 employees (80% of them) are exempted from the House Bill requiring sick leave for employees. McConnell will take up this bill on Monday. Just so everyone gets reality here: the corona virus, for the last 10 weeks, has been spreading silently in these low paid food service and retail jobs by people who do not have sick leave and "power through" their illnesses. Only this time, it's going to be deadly. Republicans though, want to enrich the business owners. And some of the business owners are selfish. Walmart, for instance, with it's 347,000 workers, could pay each of them for 5 sick days a year at a cost of about $200,000,000 per year. This represents 0.7% of the total amount of the Walton family fortune ($131 Billion). Five days off per 50 week year is also 2% of annual salary. When you look at the raw math involved here, you can easily see that the Waltons and Wal-mart could easily afford to either pay for 5 days off outright, or they could simply lower everyone's salary by 2% and give them the 5 paid days off. Why don't they? Because they don't care about their employees. All they care about are their profits.
Sean (OR, USA)
Not so long ago the vast majority of people that worked in retail and fast food were kids that lived with their parents. Now these employees have kids of their own and expect to pay rent, food etc. with McDonalds pay. This fact, more than anything, illuminates the real state of our country.
Bonku (Madison)
Vast majority of American universities (more than 98%) also don't give paid sick leave or any other form of paid leave to its vast number of postdoctoral researchers, who are basically the main backbone of US research and supply those cheap workers to so many companies and other R&D based organizations.
Denis Pelletier (Montreal)
I have one word for all those without sick benefits: socialism. Well, that's what most Americans seem to call what I really mean — social democracy, the system under which most western countries function. When will Americans start to act upon the fact they live in a antiquated social/economic system — primary wild capitalism — that most of the world has long abandoned? The thing is, social democracy would make the USA a stronger country and economy. You have much, much to gain and very little to lose
Zsuzsi (Colorado)
@Denis Pelletier Mr. Pelletier, I have lived under various forms of government (Europe, U.S.). In my experience, I find that capitalism and democracy are counter intuitive, at least in the way we currently express the two systems. I wish those who automatically denounce "socialism" would at least speak from experience. I find that those who are the least travelled scream the loudest against it--why is that? I have read that the "happiest" people in the world live in five countries with some form of social democracy ... why can't we at least have a conversation about it? Is that so un-American?
Ken Solin (Berkeley, California)
It's disconcerting to read that in the past year 20% of fast food workers came to work with vomiting and diarrhea issues because the lacked sick pay. Unbridled capitalism will be America's downfall if it isn't regulated so that sick pay, among other basic health issues is remedied. Frankly, I don't know how the Walton family sleeps at night knowing how impoverished their workers are. Unbridled greed = misery for 90% of Americans. It's unsustainable in its current state of disarray.
Doug Urbanus (Ben Lomond)
Both Costco and Home Depot are listed in the article as offering sick leave as a standard benefit, but also appear on the diagram as NOT offering sick leave. If the diagram is a proxy for the “bad guys, “ are these companies good or bad, or a little bit bad?
Wendy Jeanne (Westlake Village, CA)
There is conflicting information here. I printed the chart showing the names of companies that do not provide paid sick leave; Aldi is shown on the chart. However, in the article it states "...the supermarket chain Aldi, [have] long offered paid sick leave as a standard benefit." I do not want to support those companies that do not provide paid sick leave (which is why I printed the chart). Can I trust the information?
Frank MacGill (Australia)
So, what is the maths? If the US were to adopt universal health care, how much would it cost individual American wage earners? Could somebody make a model and a web site, so that ordinary Americans can go there, type in their current cost for healthcare that is deducted from their wages, and compare it to the cost for a universal health care implementation? If ordinary Americans could do that, and see for themselves that it would cost LESS, not MORE, Americans would vote for it, wouldn't they?
Zsuzsi (Colorado)
@Frank MacGill Excellent idea, sir! We would, at least, not have to take the word of our politicians who, I am sure, only work for the benefit of the people they represent ... right ??? Mr. MacGill, I am curious how your country is doing after the fires (off topic, I know)? Is recovery progressing, in spite of the virus crisis?
cljuniper (denver)
Paid sick leave for restaurant workers, like many rules that we need to adopt to become a more sustainable economy (higher social and environmental performance - enough to protect the next generation from this one), will most likely cause the cost of goods/services to increase. Is that a good thing or not? Our leaders need to give voters/citizens a clear choice - as clear as possible given the uncertainties. For example, if a paid sick leave requirement will increase restaurant prices 10%, what does the data say will be the effects on demand for restaurants? How many jobs might be lost in the sector as a result? Let's know what we're doing before we do it! Likewise, for something basic like electricity prices: prices likely need to increase as part of moving to a sustainable electricity system with minimized carbon emissions. What will be the economic effects? Models I've reviewed have a wide range of findings, including one I flatly don't believe from an electric utility group: a 10% price increase in electricity will eliminate millions of jobs in the US. Let's not use COVID19 to rush into permanent changes, howsoever long overdue they are. Yes, consumers can better choose which restaurants to support with greater transparency of how they treat workers. Should we require more transparency rather than higher compensation packages. Make every business visibly publish their compensation packages so consumers can reward the best companies to work for.
PhillyMomma (Philadelphia)
What I don't understand is why so many folks are against Bernie Sanders who is clearly trying to eliminate the policies that would eliminate these types of policies. I really can't understand why folks vote against what we truly need and vote for folks who go with the status quo. These are times that we need revolutionary ideas, as opposed to the same old stuff that we've had before or the volatility of the administration that we have now. It's a mess!
Zsuzsi (Colorado)
@PhillyMomma I do not know the answer to your very valid queries. I do think that the outrageous toilet paper hoarding is a great example of many folks' attitude: I am gonna get mine, never mind if I my neighbor goes without ... disgusting and sad. Then they vote for someone who says, "I will help you do that!"
N. Colburn (Portland, Oregon)
We need more pieces like this to help us be aware of offenders. We must start boycotting these places that do not provide paid sick leave or make it difficult or punitive to take sick leave. Ask the stores, restaurants, retail outlets you use about their policies and tell them you will not patronize them if they cannot do better. If our leaders do not recognize how important this is, WE CAN.
expat (Japan)
Once upon a time, there were these organizations called unions that negotiated benefits on behalf of such employees - before said employees became "independent contractors" on zero-hours contracts. America undr the GOP has been in a race to the bottom since Reagan, and is about to arrive.
PhillyMomma (Philadelphia)
@expat You can expect more of this under republican rule. They don't care if you're sick, they want you to work no matter what as it is affecting their bottom line....get used to it.
plato175 (NYC)
I haven't taken the time to read through the many comments, so perhaps this has been addressed. Another part of the work force are those in the arts (I'm thinking primarily about musicians, though I am sure it applies to other disciplines as well), who rely upon concert after concert to pay the rent. Unlike those that are salaried, such as those with a major orchestra, these "freelance" musicians have lost all of there work for at least the next 4-6 weeks, and likely longer if the recommendations remain the same. Is there any way for them to apply for the benefits being spoken of?
bl (rochester)
Publishing this list of the companies run by contemporary incarnations of Ebeneezer Scrooge is a very useful first step needed for the market to punish their corporate values and decisions where it hurts the most... It's called BOYCOTT BOYCOTT BOYCOTT! and make it all very public via social media. The sooner the better. The number of local signatories who promise to cut off their consumption from such contributors to the pandemic's spread will offer an interesting second example of what "going viral" can mean to modify social behavior. It would then be very surprising not to see a rapid change in Scrooges' attitudes.
Nathan (Atlanta)
I actually think this Is the most sensible argument. I do not support paid sick leave. I think it all points to ones own personal financial choices. But I think workers have every right to boycott for new conditions. This is a better situation than the government forcing businesses to do it. It isn’t the role of the government to force thee decisions. But workers taking theaters into their own hand is a completely constitutional act.
Hugh Robertson (Lafayette, LA)
in the hospital, which is where I am now, every room has boxes of gloves that the nurses and doctors put on if they believe the patient is infectious. Masks are to keep the sick person from spreading infection. We all carry some kind of infection all the time which is why the surgeons and help wear masks. If you enter a area that might infect you it's your hands where it will happen. Plain soap and water is your best defense, you don't need to spend a lot of money.
Restaurants that typically pay their workers a fraction of the minimum wage - made up by tips - would be of little benefit to sick workers unless it included an average tip amount to or at the very least paid the full minimum wage. It also highlights the cruelty of the restaurant industry that even covering a sub-minimum wage for sick workers is "too expensive". Businesses that can't properly cover a livable wage and relies on government tax payer subsidies to cover their shortchanged workers does not deserve to be in business. Isn't that basic economics and free markets? Why are we subsidizing so many underpaid McDonald's and Walmart employees?
USNA73 (CV 67)
The sum of all fears. Either you die. Or, you live in a Great Depression with scarce food and resources, wondering when your death may occur. There is no way to prevent this scenario. The only left left to do is to mobilize the entire U.S. military to provide additional medical care required, build the infrastructure to house those quarantined and deliver food to those who have shelter or seek it. 99% of our citizens will suffer at least as badly as the 99% during the Great Depression of the 1930's. My advice for any average individual is to try to stay alive. If you do, sell every equity you own. The "stock market" went down 90% and not return to prior levels for 20 years.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@USNA73, Selling their equities is the last thing ordinary people should do. Those of us who are not speculators rely on the income from dividends — especially we retirees. Despite the recent plunge in the price of our the stocks, the dividends have remained more or less the same. Rule one is to never to spend down your capital. Rule two is to wait out downturns in prices as long as your income is stable.
USNA73 (CV 67)
@Jerry Engelbach Only the select companies will be paying dividends. I agree with you if you hold companies like P&G and Merck and Bristol Myers.
Leah (Palm Coast, FL)
These companies are not simply putting profit ahead of health, they are thinking of their employees that may lose their only source of income. I work part-time at Barnes and Noble and I am grateful that I am still working and paying my bills.
Ober (North Carolina)
As with everything in the USA, the main function of these businesses is to provide benefit to the shareholders. Workers are a negative drag on value and all benefits given depend on availability of replacements. Decades ago this was not always the case. Goods were more expensive (luxury items anyway) but employers were smaller and more tied to their communities. We cannot go back to this time, but our attitude towards the value of workers can change. This all depends on the workers themselves and their willingness to stand up for themselves and support leaders who do the same.
MA (Sparta NJ)
I know now where I’m NOT going to shop. I wish I could see companies that do pay for sick days.
hen3ry (Westchester, NY)
Many companies lump sick leave days with vacation days. I've worked at a few places that did that. We came in sick because we had so few vacation days that we didn't want to use them as sick days. We are the only first world country that has no mandated days off, refuses to consider health care a human right, and consistently supports bad business practices over protecting employees and the public they may serve. To top it off we have a president and party in charge of the country who seem to care more about profits than human beings. Businesses will therefore continue to, no matter what is said and done, punish employees for using sick time. And what about the people who aren't working, who have no insurance, or who have it and cannot afford medical care? Oh, that's right, they're considered drains on the economy because they are too lazy to get real jobs with benefits. It's about time this country and its politicians got a little "woke" to the fact that running the country into the ground ensures that it will fail. Do any of them want to stand up and be adults and say that it's time to rethink some of our basic assumptions about universal health care, mandated sick time, affordable decent housing, a better education system, etc.? Decency and profits can go hand in hand. Ask Denmark or Sweden, or Finland, or Norway. 3/15/2020 7:56pm first submit
Airish (Washington, DC)
The data here are likely portrayed in such a way as to bolster the author’s point. McDonald’s, for example, is a large corporation. The workers noted here are not employed by McDonald’s, but by a lot of small business franchisees. Same with others on this list. Additionally, how many of these workers are part time or contractors? Putting the onus on small businesses, or even large ones, to fund expensive medical care for a person who works limited hours ignores economic reality. If the argument is that a third party should be responsible for medically insuring a worker, why is that obligation placed on the employer? Medical benefits were originally an incentive that employers offered to full time career employees. How do people now decide that it should effectively be an additional tax to be placed on businesses for every person they employ, regardless of the value that person brings to the employer enterprise?
JZF (Wellington, NZ)
@Airish Well, except for the fact that McDonalds and others in the low wage industry are trying to move to fewer full time (and more contracting/part time). Instead of hiring one 40 hour a week worker to whom you pay benefits, hire 2 workers with 20 hours and no benefits. What's not to like? Or, even better how about hiring someone on a "zero hour" contracts? McDonalds did it. Or better yet, have a look at the Forbes article on the trend for hiring contract labor rather than full time. Why? You don't need to pay benefits: no paid vacation time, no medical coverage, no paid sick leave.....and on and on.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@airish, I’m afraid I have a hard time feeling sympathetic for McDonald’s franchises just because they are “small businesses.” Their owners pay bare wages to their employees and offer little or no benefits. I don’t like seeing businesses go under, but they don’t deserve to survive if their employees cannot be paid a living wage.
Vicki (Mangiaracina)
Best argument I’ve heard yet for universal coverage!
Kent Kraus (Alabama)
It's always nice when the Times pontificates about things they don't understand without considering either the cost or implications of their pronouncements. Of course, in a perfect world we would have two chickens in every pot. Much of what we consume is provided by people without paid sick leave - probably every small business owner and their employees, for example. You think the person in the nail shop, or the body shop down the road, or your favorite restaurants are going to have a job if paid sick leave is required? Only a small fraction of workers the world over are employed by the GE's, Apple's, conglomerate news companies like the Times, etc. Easy for the Times to pontificate at the height of a crisis. Better they should be enjoining people to stay at home and wash their hands.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Kent, Other countries in this less than perfect world are able to afford the benefits you claim are impossible. Telling people who cannot afford to miss work to “just stay home” is as senseless as W. C. Fields’ ironic cure for insomnia: “Get plenty of sleep.”
Zsuzsi (Colorado)
@Kent Kraus ... "Of course, in a perfect world we would have two chickens in every pot." ... I prefer the story of, "Stone Soup."
dave (NE)
@Kent Kraus I guess you just forget about McDonald and all the giant corp that provide no sick leave stick to ideology and forget facts
Lon Newman (Park Falls, WI)
When I ran a small company a few years ago, we realized that the Family and Medical Leave Act would mean that almost all of our employees would use as much as their 6 months of accrued six leave and we simply did not have assets to offset that real liability. We developed a policy that saved our company significant amounts of money and was FMLA compliant. It was also very popular with employees. The idea was every employee received a set amount of sick PAY (not sick TIME) for example, $50 every pay period. The company would accrue 80 hours of sick pay for each full time employee and then the employee would receive the sick pay with regular pay. When the employee needed sick pay, we drew down the balance in the account and the employee would restore it from the $50 per PP. The system almost eliminated misuse of sick leave because the employee was paying herself from money we had already paid. Higher wage employees received the same dollars as lower wage employees, putting a bit of balance in the benefits. It worked very well for us, especially because with 11 locations, every replacement was costly.
Jane K (Northern California)
Many union workers in building industry have the same system. They do not get paid sick leave or vacation, but a portion of their pay goes into a separate account that is drawn from when workers take sick or vacation days. Some businesses allow people to cash out their sick leave or vacation days as well.
Lon Newman (Park Falls, WI)
@Jane K exactly - when the employee left, the 80 hours helped make the transition to the next job or into retirement.
Michael Kubara (Alberta)
Medicare for all seems pretty sane, doesn't it? But pandemics just accentuate the reality of health. It is never a purely personal--one person at a time--problem. Health is a public good and health care is a public responsibility. No man is an island. The bells toll for thee.
Zsuzsi (Colorado)
@Michael Kubara Unbelievably well said, Mr. Kubara!
Rw (Canada)
Reports coming in that Republican Senators are balking at the aid package as is....I wonder if they'll go for broke with voters by risking a fight.
Carol (Midwest)
I work for a state agency. We have had the ability to work from home for years but management has been resistant to it. We could have been working from home 2 weeks ago, but need to report to the office. Administration has given us the okay for non-essential to work from home but it is up to the supervisor. Our supervisors are so scared to make a decision without sign off for their supervisors. We wait. We are the easy ones to move to work from home—God help essential personal.
Zsuzsi (Colorado)
@Carol I think it comes down to supervisors want to micromanage employees and "whale eye" them into submission to work, work, work!
Richard (Juneau)
Many restaurants are going out of business now, and more will soon. It's a very competitive industry and the small independent operators often struggle to survive. Perhaps very different from what the big restaurant chains are experiencing, as they have vertical integration with suppliers and other benefits of operating at scale. As a business owner with my wife, we pay our employees much more than the big chains do and often take losses during lean months to do so. Changing the economics in a way that will allow more sick leave benefits has to include some tax or other incentives for small employers to ease the burden. If I'm sick we have to close the business- and we've done that in the past because we are a small operation. Do I get paid? This is a complex problem that needs to take into account the real problems small business restauranteurs are facing and isn't amenable to simplistic solutions. It's great for the NYT to suggest that others pay the way for more leave, but that doesn't work if there are not the sources available to do so.
Rw (Canada)
@Richard "In Germany, an employee is generally entitled to receive sick pay amounting to 100% of his or her salary for up to six weeks. German national health insurance compensates employers for 80% of sick pay so long as the employer does not employ more than 30 employees." Apr 7, 2015 employmentlawwatch It first takes wanting to do it and then making it work. Not suggesting that, eg. six weeks would fly in the US but anything's better than now exists?
Richard (Juneau)
@Rw I'd be in favor of something mandatory for employers like in Germany perhaps, though maybe not 6 weeks. If it was mandatory for everyone then we'd all be on the same playing field as employers so it would be fair. I don't think it will work unless it is made mandatory by law because otherwise those doing it would still have to compete with those who don't. I agree almost anything would be better!
MB (San Francisco)
Let's just get a comprehensive list together of companies that provide decent paid sick leave to their employees and those that don't and then everyone should play their part as a responsible citizen and boycott those companies that don't care about their health of their customers. I don't shop at Walmart or eat at any of the usual fast food places because I know how badly they treat their employees. Everyone needs to be more conscious of how they spend their money. Don't support immoral businesses.
Hydraulic Engineer (Seattle)
I wish the article had provided a similar graphic showing the businesses that DO provide sick leave. Then I would know who to do business with.
Tortolita (Las Vegas)
Shocking to see a company like Marriott with such a high percentage of employees without this benefit. The virtue signaling about being a great employer clearly just isn’t the case. These large multinationals also hold enormous profits overseas, avoiding tax. The fragility is built into the system. Bernie, we need you.
John Brown (Idaho)
Why not also report whether the executives of these companies get paid sick leave, not to mention paid vacation time and what their health insurance is like. I was fired in my youth because I was sick with pneumonia even though I coughed and wheezed on the phone the boss said come in or be fired.
Richard (Denver, CO)
Public health is personal health. Once we realize that then we can create social policies that respect, cherish, and support all beings.
Robert Moody (Modesto, CA)
I’m a California psychologist. This morning I was asked by my local government to be prepared to volunteer to provide mental health assistance to those seeking treatment or testing for Covid2019. Yesterday I listened attentively as the President paraded various CEOs of companies providing supplies and/or services to help with the current pandemic. Now, this morning, I’m reading in the Times about how several of these same companies, e.g., Wal-Mart and Walgreens, are putting profit ahead of helping contain the virus whereas they are among the worst offenders in the country in providing sick leave for their (underpaid) employees. So I’m left wondering, why should I put myself (as a late stage 60 something) at considerable risk, providing probono services whilst the big corporations are profiteering all along the way? I’m confident that I will not be able to be tested if exposed to the virus and it’s likely that I won’t even have protective gear available to me while I’m working with very high risk patients. I was a Red Cross early responder to the 911 attacks (2 deployments, to Washington and later to Newark) and Hurricane Katrina (also 2 deployments) but now I’m wondering, why should I put myself in harms way and work probono when the executive branch of the federal government and major corporations are just looking at this as an opportunity to create profit or political capital.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Robert, You’re addressing the very heart of the US corporatist system, the plutocracy that effectively controls the government. The solution to your problem requires the determination of vast numbers of people to overhaul a rotten system. But meanwhile decent folks have no alternative in the face of blatant avarice and corruption but to try to do the right thing, as I think you will.
dave (NE)
@Robert Moody make your own decisions based on your conscious and don't worry about what others do
Scott Cole (Talent, OR)
Doubtless the airline execs have lobbied hard to keep flying within the US, even when it will very efficiently spread the virus.
Rob (London)
I wonder when exactly the US decided to allow capitalism to become the objective in and of itself, rather than use it as a tool to help improve society as a whole. The level of corporate abuse inflicted on the population of the US is tragic.
Nathan (Atlanta)
Well....capitalism did improve society for the better. What great innovation was created by a communist nation? Not many.
Ana (Utopia)
Exactly! Thank you! Corporate prerogatives have usurped humanity.
The Surf (California)
It is uncivilized and bad capitalism to not have affordable health insurance and paid sick leave for all American citizens. People who fall deeper into the ditch of poverty because of an illness are not productive citizens, they become dependents of the state by way of welfare or homelessness, then "they" become a real blight on our culture's shiny principles of every person for themselves. My friends in Canada and Europe don't have these anxieties, never have and never will. There will always be a vocal minority in this country who say, "yeah, but we have the best medical care on the planet", ok, but whose the "we"? Doctors are going boutique where we live, meaning, an annual subscription model, are you kidding? Our values as a culture are in bad shape, we don't need more billionaires, we need a country that can breathe and focus on being competitive in the global market while being half-way decent to it's citizens, and yes, I'm interested in swamp land in Florida as we need swamp land too. We have a socialist military complex that has just enough money to destabilize the middle-East, how come we don't have enough money to make health care work in our country? P.S.: I'm a dyed in the wool capitalist.
sissifus (australia)
There is no hope for a national law that enforces businesses to pay for sick leave and other benefits that are standard in civilized countries, but how about a national organization that certifies a shingle / sticker for companies that provide such benefits. The positive alternative to naming and shaming. I would certainly make a point of taking my business there.
Parent (USA)
Thank you, NYT. We will be avoiding the businesses your helpful graphic lists, and others like them. Here’s a question your reporters might explore: With more and more HMOs and hospitals using gig-workers even in professional positions (traveling nurses, contract medical doctors, temp social workers, temp pharmacists, etc), are those workers getting paid sick time? Are the medical/healthcare practices and hospitals hiring them, or the agencies through which they may be hired, giving those healthcare workers PTO? If so, how much, at what point and under what specific conditions?
Parent2 (CA)
Yet another area to explore and for people to protest is a state public school funding system based on daily attendance rather than on actual enrollment. CA’s school funding structure is based on average daily attendance as measured in first 30mins of school. This means kids who should stay home all or the 1st part of the day often go to school while still ill & symptomatic or before a full 24 hours has passed since they were fever-free without medication. Because of the state’s funding structure and arbitrary cut-offs, which dock funding from schools whenever a child’s late or absent, regardless of the reason, CA school districts, administrators, and teachers, and even other parents, send mixed messages to families about child infirmity and attendance. Since schools (read: the children) are in effect financially penalized when a kid is out, even for illness or injury, too often districts, school administrators, and even teachers and other parents directly or subtly make exercising parental good judgement difficult, often in inequitable ways. Parents and/or kids have gotten shamed, interrogated, or threatened w/legal action if a child, has more than a small handful of absences or 1/2 absences (the latter from coming to school 31 mins after starting time; but NOT from leaving school 31 mins. into the school day). Poor families cant afford required MD notes. And woe to the family with other reasons for absence, like religion or wedding or death in family. Bad policy!
The Pessimistic Shrink (Henderson, NV)
Trump is, and I'm sure other billionaires are, not satisfied with the riches they have. They must always accumulate more. They cannot be content with much more than they will ever need or use. They don't merely need power: They need continuously expanding power. Psychology can explain the neuroses behind this "need." Unfortunately -- as any Psych 101 class will teach you -- "insight is not enough."
Louise (NY, NY)
Until we have health care for all, we are a socially developing nation. It's that simple. Many developing nations have it. Bosses who threaten, need training, next.
Flossy (Australia)
No sick leave, and those who have it fear using it because they can lose their jobs. Sigh. Let's hope that the 'Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave' actually grows up in this crisis and learns how to treat people like human beings. Not holding my breath, though.
market dipped because of lack of traveller resulting into stocks prices of airlines, big chain hotels ,cruise ships dive, cargo ships cant deliver or finance ,food prices go up insurance goes up, Debt based financing and insurance or betting on those ( derivative market ) become fragile and highly pricey . Stock price goes down .Multiple factors originating from lack of demand snowball. Then the demands come for Gov to inject money . Market goes down because of natural process .But Government has to inject While people working won’t be compensated . Economy depends on the consumption of these people . The health of these people hold the economy y and the health of the other and thus of the nation. Market recovers momentarily from Government ‘free money . But then market falls again ( selling not to recover losses but to profit in times of crisis and from the known fact that the Government will make the stocks whole again ) eliciting demands for more free money . Very soon government ends up injecting trillions .
Freddie (New York NY)
Incredibly, before everyone got sensible and closed down the Broadway theaters, this was even true of the supposedly caring Broadway producing types. There's a certain head-shaking opportunism to the way several Broadway shows, who have for years been so happy to keep things elitist while they can charge premium prices, found that all those seats held back for the usual gouging they call "flexible pricing" so they found so much unsold for supposedly "sold out" shows. But since the folks who could afford premium weren't buying, they offered seats for a relatively affordable $50, even as the governor was already pleading with people to stay away from congregating so close to other people. Is there any other way to deal with this but try to laugh and make a joke of it, and be relieved that this was cut off, as they were. enticing the middle classes, who as New Yorkers have developed a love of theater but since premium took hold about 10 years ago can't think of paying $300 or more. It was almost like: (I admit I'm comically restating this but it was clear this was what the producers meant) "For a short time don't miss your chance, you little non-rich people have been dying to see a show from a decent seat but we've priced you out for a decade now. So come, into our Petri dish and take your chances, because you were able to with no trouble before we got so greedy." A lot of people online were really tempted. But shame on the producers.
KEVIN (California)
There are too many small businesses that barely make a profit. I know of a small deli that earns $75k in profit a year before taxes. This couple work nearly 80 hours a week. They can't even afford a part time help! It's going to be a very difficult year for them. These business owners face competition, difficult customers, high rent, high taxes and regulations... A staggering majority of new small businesses fail. It's a struggle to pay loans and make out a living.
Bill White (Ithaca)
@KEVIN That, however, is a deli I won't patronize. Not because of any socialistic ideals, but simply because I do not what them passing on their illness to me. In this crisis, I'm going to avoid businesses that do not offer paid sick leave for that reason.
Ben (NY)
What is just/right aside, if they’re not getting paid when sick, they have a much greater incentive to go to work when sick. I’m not sure I want to be served by or handle products handled by employees who are possibly infected because they can’t afford to miss work. That, in itself, is very much a good reason to avoid these places as long as the present situation persists.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
Will Americans be willing to pay more for the same level of goods and services? This is the question would be policy makers have to answer Wal-Mart made 3 percent net income of $15 billion. They also have 1.5 million employees in the USA. If you have each employee a $5 per hour raise and kept prices flat, you would wipe out the entire net income of $15 billion. As for their CEO, he made $22 million. If the CEO worked for free and you distributed his salary to the remaining employees, each worker would get $15 extra dollars for the year. This problem of worker compensation and benefits comes down to the American Consumer being willing to pay the full price for their goods and services. Moreover, Americans have to stop with their incessant bargain hunting. It incentivizes a race to the bottom.
Zsuzsi (Colorado)
@Practical Thoughts I feel your response is a good example of why change never happens. Someone gives numbers, they sound reasonable, yet no fact-based data to back up those numbers are shown, or demanded, by the public; the number(s) "prove out" people's beliefs, fact-based or not. It is the reasoning a lot of folks use at the polls. I want to see how those in the know compile their data. That is not to say that those who gave the numbers, yourself and others, don't have good intentions. I am just the type that always says, "so, show me the numbers AND how you arrived at them."
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
@zsuzi You can download Wal-Marts audited financial statements from 2020. Their 10k as well. Don’t be dismissive of facts and figures. They are not a barrier. They show that the solution is not easy and requires a comprehensive analysis and thoughtfulness. Not just running on emotion. This is a tough problem to solve. Economics, sociology, education, business management. It’s tough. I actually think employees are underpaid. That all people deserve health care, safety net and all the other benefits of a civil society. It’s too bad Bernie didn’t do the hard work of figuring out how to pay for and implement his proposals. Elizabeth Warren is a more thoughtful and legitimate progressive thinker. doing the wrong thing is worse than doing nothing at all. You make the wrong decision and you end up like Venezuela or Russia. If your thoughtful and disciplined you might get German or Scandinavian results.
Jeff (Northern California)
@Practical Thoughts Yet the "poor" Walton family is the richest in the world. Somehow, the real numbers add up differently. Please explain.
David (New York)
Surprised and distressed that Walgreens is on this list, having grown up in the Midwest while loving the ‘local’ feel of Duane Reade as a New Yorkers for more than a couple decades. Shape up, sneerglaW.
Susan Portis (Corpus Christi)
The multicolored circles make an attention grabbing graphic but I would rather have had a list that I can carry with to check on before entering a store or buying something on line. A small quibble but how many companies that claim to have a sick leave policy only apply it to full time employees, of which they have few, thereby effectively avoiding it?
Zsuzsi (Colorado)
@Susan Portis I agree, Ms. Portis. I had hoped to print it as a go-to guide while I shop. Hopefully, one will be available soon ... hint, hint, NYT ;-)
john (LA)
What the author wants is possible. But you will have to pay a price. And not just expensive pizzas. As you make American workers expensive you have to help make sure this is not just another vector to import even lower wage labor. We arent children. Everyone knows that 'people before profits' is meaningless. A cost is a cost admit or no. Ill pay for a more expensive pizza thsts my part. You abandon the myth that costs are somehow 'absorbed'.
Mark Browning (Houston)
corporations and lobbies will likely resist any obligation to pay for sick leave. What might happen is middle-class taxpayers will have to foot the bill, through, say, higher insurance premiums. Since 1980s US has become more regressive in taxation.
Timbuk (New York)
It is stunning to see how many companies don’t have paid sick leave for all of their employees. What about insurance? Do those people have the same insurance as the CEO? These companies are disgusting.
Baz (England)
I’m a Brit and had never appreciated my paid sick leave before reading this article I was once rushed to hospital, spent 3 weeks there and was off work for 4 months. I received full pay during that time. My employment contract guaranteed me 6 months paid sick leave, after which it would be reviewed with the possibility of it continuing. My 3 weeks hospital stay and months of follow up treatment was also free I’m sure I get paid less and pay more taxes than my U.S. counterparts but the peace of mind, plus the security of my family makes it well worth while
Zsuzsi (Colorado)
@Baz Thank you, Baz, for your first-hand input. We Americans only hear from politicians, companies, and others with a financial vested interest, 99% negative. We never get to hear from individuals who live within a system where protection is given.
Baz (England)
@Zsuzsi thanks Zsuzsi. To expand on my comments. Most employers provide good sick pay to skilled workers, but those on minimum wages are not always so fortunate. The government sets a minimum amount for sick pay called the Statutory Sick Pay which is the minimum the company must pay for up to 28 weeks This is currently set at £94.25 ($116) a week compared the the minimum weekly wage of £305.20 ($378) McDonalds is one of the companies doing this
Schimsa (The Southeast)
@Baz I’m jealous! We in the US are just plain masochists suffering under an extended Battered Spouse Syndrome. Only instead of Spouse, it’s the .001% and the persons who are corporations. We’ve been beaten into living in a miserable miserly culture and have never even looked for remedy. Apparently, mass shootings are our release valve. Stay well
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Anyone who has dealt with many businesses understands that moral behavior is personal and expecting people to act with rational consideration for the consequences of their acts works for at most about sixty percent of people not compelled by all of society to do so. This actually means that within huge corporations there are massive numbers of individuals from bottom to top who are inclined to not do the right thing and require company policies well enforced to act considerately. Sorry all you anti-government folks, if you don’t want the coronavirus to spread faster than our health care system can manage, government is needed to represent society’s interests.
RAS (Richmond)
Corporate institutions have worked hard, tirelessly, to achieve the legislation currently in place. Hardworking, well-paid lobbyists have prepared first class pro-corporate bills to be submitted before the House and Senate, in a bipartisan effort, to streamline procedures and costs that corporate businesses face. Trump's number one personal pet peeve is federal regulation. Any efforts to protect the general public and the workforce could easily be regarded as wasteful of government resources and not the responsibility of any federal agency. This concept maybe aptly termed "labor law reform," a decidedly Democratic initiative. Triumph of Trumpism is the cleansing of regulation.
The same Americans who can't get time off when sick are the same Americans that can't take off from work to vote - hence why their needs are willfully ignored by Washington and fully exploited by the ownership class. I'm not surprised with all by this profiting off of sick employees given that my former boss took away three weeks vacation time rather than give me three weeks sick leave for a three stay in a hospital where I dodged becoming a paraplegic. He also forced a colleague back to work soon after giving birth. Callous capitalism at work - with those shaking trumps hand Friday no doubt looking to profiteer the most off this pandemic.
mike L (dalhousie, n.b.)
I don't know where you are getting your information but I can assure you that paid sick leave is certainly not standard for workers in Canada, even in most highly paid union contracts. Maybe for management; if you can't make it in to work you are out of luck, and pay for that day.
Barbara (Canada)
@mike L nonsense - I've never had a job in my 40+ years in Canada that didn't have some form of paid sick leave - some more generous than others but I never got docked pay for being sick. And in the union jobs that I've had, sick leave was standard.
Robin (Lyons, CO)
Unrelated to sick leave policies, but relevant to public health: I flew on United in the 1st week of March when things began to get alarming. While away United sent out an email blast about how concerned they were with customer health. The outgoing flight (on March 3rd) was about half full, though there were people visibly and audibly very ill. The return (3/7) flight was 100% full since United canceled some flights and condensed them. Again, there were noticeably sick people. Obviously, this made the flight much riskier, but United is fine because it will be impossible for passengers who later get sick to pin it down to that flight. It is also very reasonable to flight attendants to discretely request those passengers to wear masks that they should have on hand. But I imagine their more concerned with disgruntlement in the short-term. Who is United kidding with their so-called concern?
Mike (Rural New York)
@Robin But, don’t forget, if you die, United will let you change your flight without a fee if you book it this month! I got the same nonsensical email.
Allison (Texas)
This pandemic is exposing all of the country's weaknesses, and how damaging income inequality is to the social fabric. Ronald Reagan began ruining the country forty years ago, and it's been downhill ever since. When I was born, there was one billionaire in the country. One. That was the situation for a long time. The Forbes list of billionaires came into existence in 1987, while the country was in a Republican-sponsored fever of tax and budget cuts that slowly began decimating the middle and other working classes, but which shoveled piles of cash to a thin layer of individuals at the top. Millionaires became billionaires, while the rest of us began the gradual slide toward poverty. I certainly hope this virus wakes up our somnolent, easily led voters and leads the majority of us to vote in better leadership and better solutions for us all. It is more obvious than ever that it is necessary to tax all billionaires out of existence. And cut defense spending! Reroute tax revenues to life-affirming sectors, not the war and death industry.
BBB (Australia)
The low wage no sick leave "Right to Work" regressive states that failed to expand Medicaid deserve to go bankrupt with no bailouts from the Coasts during the upcoming recession. Stay on top of Munichin's new bailout operation and find out where he plans to get the money. No socialism for corporate "people" if the rest of us can't have national health cover.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
California has failed its duties to expand affordable housing because of NIMBY attitudes in its wealthy suburbs and posh city neighborhoods. New York State could pass $25 minimum wage if it wanted too right now. They unified liberal government. Vermont or Massachusetts could make the University of Vermont or UMASS tuition free right now. Where the action? Waiting for Mitch McConnell to go away is not a good strategy.
funklane (NYC)
I'm not buying a thing from any of these companies until they change their policies.
Bob Smith (NYC)
I think there is merit in having this be government mandated, but NYT labeling companies as being "malefactors" is shameful. Companies are competing with each other to offer products consumers want at lowest cost. Additional employee benefits increase those costs. So it's unfair to lay blame at companies. Employees can compete similarly to work at companies that offer them the best benefits. So the best employees will probably gravitate to companies with better benefits. Perhaps consumers, too, will choose to give their business only to companies that treat their employees better. But they also may not. Each employer, employee and customer will make its respective "maximizing" decision. There is a lot of societal value in preventing sick workers from going to work and potentially infecting colleagues or customers. But it needs to be government mandated, especially before anyone should start calling anyone a bad actor. Otherwise why should it be a surprise that a lot of people, consumers included, will take the risk of getting sick / getting others sick if it means more money in his / her pocket? I'd vote for a lower sick day threshold (say, 5 days) with government having ability to increase it for special circumstances like we have now. Or potentially offering more for people over 50.
David Temple (NYC)
Simple solution: restaurants with no sick leave must post a warning in their window--so that their customers are aware of the risks they are taking.
P. Lee (Chapel Hill, NC)
I’m a retired nurse. While I was working(30 years), there were a variety of policies that varied every year.When I was first hired, we had 2 weeks of paid sick leave, an employee health department that acted as primary care provider. If you were sick, you went home on paid leave. Then came cost containment. Employee health was only for legal purposes, required immunizations, on the job injuries. When I was exposed to a patient with a virus that causes birth defects while in my first trimester, I was told I should have been wearing gloves, which were out of stock hospital wide. (When universal precautions were first implemented. My baby was fine, thank God.) One year you were expected to call in sick, with pay. Next year they wrote you up excessive use of “unplanned leave”. Then nosocomial infections (hospital acquired)happened, they returned to allowing you to use sick leave. Rinse and repeat. Each time a new manager came in they’d try cost cutting and when it had untoward effects, went back to the original policy. Sick leave became part of your vacation and holidays. All called “leave”, sick leave “unplanned leave”. If you came in sick, you showed poor judgement. If you stayed home, you were malingering and were written up for excessive use. No win situation. Bottom line: if a hospital can’t see the value of sick leave, why should nonmedical businesses. Paid sick leave saves money in the long run, but managers only see the short run.
Zsuzsi (Colorado)
@P. Lee Wow, wow, wow!!! I just assumed that those in the health industry took care of their own. Maybe the paper pushers and policy makers should have their desks in the infectious disease portion of the hospital so that they have equal opportunity contamination with those on the front lines. I know, it will never happen, but I can dream!
BBB (Australia)
Thank you for finally calling out large US employers, especially restaurants and supermarkets trusted to handle food, who openly encourage their employees to come to work sick by providing no options. This is particularly important because we have no idea of cutbacks and downsizing that Trump has inflicted on the Food and Drug Administration, which we once trusted to keep us safe.
George S. (NY & LA)
There's another solution to this -- at least in the long run. It's an old remedy that had often been used in the past to ensure greater worker protections. It's a tried and tested solution that has gone into disfavor and been held in contempt by many; particularly conservatives. Unionize!
Caitlyn Austin (New York)
I work at a store in New York City, the corporate offices for our company are all closed down...yet the 5 stores in NYC are still open regular hours. classism? capitalism? BOTH
Just 4 Play (Fort Lauderdale)
Apprecriate the thoughts on this comment section. However theory is now being replaced by reality. Having a sevice business such as a resturant or bar become the vehicle for a social welfare program is a very bad idea. Thats what unemployement and our safety next programs are for. Perhaps funding those differently is the answer. Putting this on the backs of a retail servivce businesses is a very bad idea. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is ordering all bars and restaurants across the state to be closed to dine-in customers in a further attempt to curb the coronavirus, effective end of business Monday. They will still be open for pick-up and delivery, the governor said. This is not about profits my friends and to suggest it is shows a total lack of understanding of small business. So how long can medium to small companies pay for sick leave during a crisis like this and survive? Most companies perhaps 30-60 days? For example I own a family resturant. Our reservations are down 70%. If I pay for sick leave or time off how do I survive? Do I shut down and have everyone lose their jobs? Large corporations will survive but most small companies will not make it. Lastly it is not the companies that will pay for the paid sick leave it is the consumer. Are you willing to pay $12 for a Big Mac meal or $10 for a Bud Light?
Dan L (New York)
This article is about the biggest companies in America that recently received the biggest tax cut out of everyone and do not offer sick leave. Time to step up and give back just like we working class Americans have given them an opportunity to be successful in this great country.
Just 4 Play (Fort Lauderdale)
@Dan L They will just cut staff and raise prices. Profits matter for a publically traded company my liberal friend.
Mike (Rural New York)
@Just 4 Play Actually, yes. When I go to Australia or New Zealand, the prices are higher, because the pay is much closer to a living wage. If I can afford to go out, I can afford to contribute to paying people who are serving me.
Roland Berger (Magog, Québec, Canada)
What is most surprising is that the editorial's authors seem to be surprised by the companies's attitude, as if investors had usually much empathy for the workers.
Gypsy Mandelbaum (Seattle)
Isn't this what Bernie Sanders has been saying all along? He needs to stay in this race long enough to twist some arms. Even if we're not shareholders in these companies, we're stakeholders and they owe their customer base something. I'd be delighted to take my business away from any of them.
Maurice Wolfthal (Houston, TX)
Paid sick leave? We can't have that! That's one of those SOCIALIST ideas, like minimum wage, the eight-hour day, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Disability....No we can't have that! And anyway, anyone who didn't inherit $413,000,000 doesn't deserve charity.....
Peter M (Santa Monica)
The United Stated of America (USA) is wearing no clothes.
Mike (Rural New York)
@Peter M And, it’s not a pretty sight.
Numas (Sugar Land)
It is "very Christian" of Chick-fil-A to close Sundays. One less they for their employees to infect people when sick...
Frank (Tennessee)
you take care of yourselves. nice sneak in of how much we love government. sorry we do not.
zigful26 (Los Angeles, CA)
This will never be fixed because the reason there's no sick leave law is because both parties and Bought and Paid for by Corporate America. Joe Biden among many despicable acts of Congress was the champion of a bill to line Credit company pockets. And now all the Lemmings are following him over a cliff because some apparently the greatest man ever to live, James Clybourn (hmm interesting initials) has spoken!!!! If you have a few days free read all the boneheaded votes and moronic gaffs this guy has made over the years. I don't know who can beat Trump, but Biden will be chewed up and spit out and left in a pool of his own waste on the debate stage with Trump.
The Scythe (USA)
Paid sick leave is a fiscally conservative policy. In the current system, businesses are dis-incentived from providing sick leave because of fears that it would put them at a competitive disadvantage against other businesses who also do not provide sick leave. If this policy was enforced across the board, companies would not have any competitive disadvantage, so businesses will not be hurt. Paid sick leave improves productivity, and that improved productivity offsets at least some of the minor costs of paying for sick leave. In addition, sick leave reduces the spread of diseases, which reduces healthcare spending and unnecessary deaths, both of which are good for the economy. In the long run, paid sick leave will likely pay for itself and possibly cost less than the current system, in addition to improving the lives of workers and families. If conservatives really cared about fiscal conservatism and strengthening families, they should support paid sick leave.
robss (New York)
Hey, can you make one of these charts for companies that *do* give paid sick leave? I'd like to be able to support them.
M.M. (Prescott, AZ)
The text says Safeway and Costco pay sick leave. The chart says they do not.
DMS (San Diego)
Glad to see In-N-Out treats their workers well. They'll get my business in the coming weeks.
Excellency (Oregon)
Couldn't find the right place to post this but I've been reading about people going to bars, restaurants. I think if they leave them open, they could reduce risk considerable by removing enough tables/chairs to create 6 ft spacing and charging more - say, double price - and not having any standing room. I'm surprised there isn't already a CDC protocol for restaurants and bars - who should wear face masks and when they should wash their hands. I go to a place where I can get the 6ft distance for my coffee. They should up the price of coffee from $2 to $4 and take half the tables out. The persons standing over food and coffee should have a face mask and the division of labor of old should kick in with one person taking cash and cards and others pouring coffee. The government needs to get involved because the market is just responding to legal jeopardy. It wont tell workers not to sweep dust in the air, e.g., because later that will show that they knew the dust was infected. Those of us who have worked in business know the legal routine in good ol' USA. We need govt mandates. If you think about it, there will be protocol for the time when the curve flattens and there is an effort to get back to normal but that time is forseeably a "new" normal so we may as well start now.
MD (Cromwell, CT)
My company is publicly listed. They sent out emails telling people to try and stay home 10 days ago, but privately called employees and gave them a work or quit option. Public persona and private reality. Remarkably, I work in tech and we always advocate tele-work and teleconferencing. Finally, on Friday evening we received a blanket email from the CEO ordering everyone to stay home. They think this is a two week problem. Those who are older or have other health factors, will be phased out of companies. They want young and healthy people to travel and show up for work. They think it lowers their risks. The younger folks were all willing to travel and go out to dinner meetings etc. Until the company wide blanket email, my job was at risk. It will be again. I will likely be unemployed when this ends. No protections, except the money I saved over the decades.
Don Juan (Washington)
Congress is doing the same thing, even with the latest package that has yet to be approved by the Senate. With all the loop holes you give companies large and small you do not make it possible for those who have become sick/infected to take time off without incurring a huge financial loss. Who will pay for their care, food, mortgage, medical expenses, etc? Make it mandatory that everyone stay home. Have those that cannot work online, receive a regular pay-check. Or, the country, as it usually does, puts profits over the welfare of its citizens. Except this time many people will die, unnecessarily, because the government is not doing its job.
qisl (Plano, TX)
My employer doesn't offer paid sick leave. But that doesn't really matter. As a result of the recession caused by covid-19, I fully expect to be cut loose, like so many other folks that have already lost their jobs. Perhaps President Trump will become known as the president who had both the lowest and the highest unemployment figures in US history.
C&M (Sydney, Australia)
Here in Australia (and also in New Zealand), paid sick leave is a fundamental right for all workers, whether they be a cleaner at a small company or a CEO of a bank. Am shocked to learn that in a supposedly first world country like America, this is not the case.
Thomas Higgins (Upstate New York)
Middle managers are the ones who are pressured by general managers who are overseen by district managers who are told to make sure all the managers below them make their numbers this month. Or else. It's the way business is done.
Susan VonKersburg (Tucson)
Who pays for paid sick leave? If I were CEO of the world, I would immediately cut my company’s dividend in half and use that money to provide sick leave for all the company’s hourly workers. And cut the corporate officers pay by 3/4 until they can figure out a way to proceed with ongoing similar benefits.
Klaus Steinweg (Dortmund, Germany)
With huge export surpluses Germany is extremely competitive on the world markets of cars, machinery, chemical products, etc. Nevertheless, here are the basics of German laws regarding sick pay: If a physician decides that you are unable to work, your employer will continue to pay your salary for up to six weeks. After that your health insurance company will continue to pay about 80% of your salary for up to 1,5 years. As soon as you get back to work and get sick again, you will start all over: six weeks paid by the company, then up to 1,5 years by the health insurance company. Remember: EVERYONE has health insurance in Germany. It's mandatory. It is next to impossible for an employer to fire someone because of poor health. Of course there are a lot more details, but those are the basics. All workers in Germany (incl. e.g. part time employees) have enjoyed these federal laws for as long as I can remember. I am 64 years old... Are there any employees who take undue advantage of this? Yes, of course. Is there any discussion in Germany to change this system? No.
Numas (Sugar Land)
Is there some website that tracks which restaurants and service companies provide an EFFECTIVE sick leave policy for hourly workers? (And not one that you have but "can't use"!). I would shift my business to them, not as a reward for their policies, but for self protection!
One person (USA)
Workers in the motion picture and television industry were all let go from their jobs on Friday. No work is in sight and certainly there is no paid sick leave. The huge motion picture union has just left all the crew members high and dry. These are the people who work rain, shine, snow, and in super cold to bring Americans all the TV shows they love. They patiently talk to tourists in NYC on sets on the street. The try their best to not inconvenience New Yorkers trying to go about their business. Now tons of salaried Americans are going to curl up and watch TV for weeks on end, much of it created on the streets of NY, while the very people who created the sets, electrified the campers, and moved the cameras go hungry and get sick with no paid sick leave. Unemployment pays a fraction of a postage stamp size rent stabilized apartment in New York. All of these families face absolutely no help from their union. There will be precious little food on the table in a few weeks and bills will be unpaid. The government is not stepping up with higher unemployment benefits per week. There is no paid sick leave in motion picture and television. And Nancy Pelosi's package has absolutely no government paid leave. Once again, the press and the government are cherry picking certain industries for help and attention and leaving others out in the cold. As each salaried employee comfortably watches Netflix at home, they should remember those who made their paid leave so entertaining and bearable
ZZ (yul)
Here is another example of why the duplicitous Democrats don't deserve to win the next election let alone the last one. Trump was the candidate of desperation that is why he was elected. Bye the way its easier to get AR-15 than to get a coronavirus test kit. Who needs enemies when we have so many rotten apples in Washington.
JP (Colorado)
I hear Hannity and Limbaugh and even Fox & Friends think this is Democrat/Liberal hoax. I'd like to encourage all of their followers to get together and party down. Maybe organize Fake News Cruises and take advantage of the reduced demand for cruise vacations. Guest appearances by Hannity, Rush, Tucker and the whole gang at Fox. Midnight buffets! And none of that "wash your hands" nonsense - so silly.
C.E.D. II (Oregon)
Boycott these companies that are soulless corporations. Schwan's foods is still sending their employees door to door begging for sales. Boycott that greedy corporation
S North (Europe)
Huge corporations fail to give their workers paid sick leave, while their Forbes-list-topping owners hunker down in private ranches the size of Malta. They then get fulsome praise from the President for giving up a bit of parking space. Europe may have its problems, but it's nowhere near as barbaric as this.
Stephen (New Haven)
Don’t. Support. These. Businesses. Period.
EB (San Diego)
The demonization of "socialism" by politicians has led us to this place...without libraries, post offices, interstate roads, public schools, where would we be? And now - when we need it most - our pathetic patchwork of public health, overshadowed by the money going to the corporate healthcare industry, threatens to be our undoing. Why do we permit our politicians to be paid off by large corporations - to our ultimate detriment, and now - death?
Tom Wilde (Santa Monica, CA)
Coming from The [private multinational corporation] New York Times, which is largely sponsored by larger, more powerful private multinational corporations, this is richest title imaginable: "The Companies Putting Profits Ahead of Public Health" From this title, we're to thereby think that these companies (and innumerable others) have NOT been putting profits ahead of public health for decades—in order to become these powerful privately-owned corporations they now are? Indeed, the fact that the Editorial Board at The New York Times gives us (and the world) this title at this time demonstrates in the clearest possible way that the public's corporate-sponsored indoctrination, courtesy of The New York Times and other "mainstream media," is deemed to be successful enough— there is no other way that The New York Times could publish this title with a straight face and in a learned tone. Here, "The Companies Putting Profits Ahead of Public Health" are merely those that long ago joined in purposefully constructing a Corporate-Owned America without a public health care system. These companies long ago understood that they could only become powerful players in Corporate-Owned America by putting profits ahead of the hoi polloi (and its health) in this nation. And we've gotten to where we are now in no small part because of: "The New York Times Putting Indoctrination Ahead of Public Health and Education."
WestCoastBestCoast (Cali)
You know who else put their personal agenda ahead of public health? All of the politicians who have held rallies since the coronavirus epidemic started. I am looking at you Biden, Bernie, Warren, Buttigeig, Klobuchar, Trump. You are all complicit it this nightmare.
Jenn (Chicago)
Our nation's healthcare is a disgrace. Greatest country in the world? Where are the drive up tests? Where are the walk-in testing facilities? The wealthy will be able to afford to be tested, but not the uninsured or the underinsured. China built *new hospitals* for their people. Where are OUR new hospitals? South Korea has drive-thru, at will, FREE testing in place -- where's OUR free testing? and this Faucci keeps saying, oh, 'we'll see.' Disgrace. Disgrace. All hot air, flab and disgrace.
Debbie Ryan (Columbus, OH)
In this country we have an epidemic worse than coronavirus; we have an epidemic of people who believe that if you're working at McDonalds, or Meijer, or Walmart when you're 40 years old, you must've mismanaged your life in some way and pretty much deserve whatever you get. We have an epidemic of people who believe that even if you gave low-wage hourly workers sick days (or God forbid, vacation days!), they'd just abuse them and make Management's life miserable. Oddly, I sometimes hear this poison from the lips of low-wage hourly workers who have no sick or vacation days which leads me to believe that we also have an epidemic of zombies who believe that what's good for management is also good for labor!
JPFF (Washington DC)
Can we have a similar chart that shows employers who do grant sick leave? I'd like to see that.
Dr. B (Berkeley, CA)
This bi partisan bill by only protects these large corporations. Another nail in trumps coffin when the jury comes back with the verdict of the November elections. That is if trump and republicans don't figure out a way to postpone the elections keeping themselves in power and destroying our country.
Peter (Portland OR)
Paid sick leave means corporate profits will be reduced. Stock share prices will not recover to previous levels. The stock market will not be such a great deal and stock price indices will not return to their previous levels. The fake "Trump economy" will evaporate. Workers lives will be improved, and Trump will not be reelected. What's so bad about that?
Michael (New England)
Did you even read the bill?! Large companies who can afford to pay sick leave are exempt. The law only applies to businesses with fewer employees than 500, which means small businesses who can least afford it and hardest hit by Coronavirus are forced by an unfunded mandate to pay money they don't have. Way to go congress and quadruple pinnochios to your editorial team for not thoroughly addressing how cynical and unhelpful this bill is. And don't say "but tax credits..." because that juat shows how thoroughly out of touch you are as journalists who have never agonized about having the cash flow to meet payroll. So disappointed.
Thank you. I saved the list and know what businesses to avoid.
dave (NE)
Remember, corporations generally have zero money except that money generated by the work of employees --- sick pay is not a gift from companies to workers -- sick pay is the workers' money
stewart bolinger (westport, ct)
"The results set to rest many of the arguments long made by retailers, restaurant owners and other low-wage employers." Economists, too? Economists, too? Trump's Kudlow? Arthur Laffer? Politicians? Graham, McConnell, and Paul? There is a group of conservative/business economists and politicians who reliably attack the full array of employee wages and benefits as job killers and unaffordable. Let's give them full credit for their service at the forefront of the attack against paid sick leave. Don't forget to report that they enjoy the benefit themselves. Let them expound now on how wonderful it is that millions are not trapped and victimized by paid sick leave policies.
Grove (California)
Our economy is a house of cards. A level playing field is the last thing that Republicans, especially since Reagan, want. Mitch McConnell is the king of the grifters. He obviously couldn’t care less about America or the American people. And he feels very secure in his belief that no one will ever hold him accountable. Unfortunately, he is probably right.
TrumpGrump (A Voting Booth Near You)
The affects of the neoliberalist policies cemented in conservative minds during the past forty plus years have come home to roost. There was a time in this country post Great Depression when the circumstances we find ourselves would have been inconceivable. We have on many ways brought this upon ourselves with the profit at all costs business mantra. Reversing course back to stakeholder capitalism will be met with the usual Wall Street "we are the smartest people in the room" nonsense. Wall Streeters are always the smartest people in the room as long as they are only ones in it. If you believe that there are those among us that do not matter, then enjoy the agonizing affects of the current anti employee policies that exist among the many companies that you expect to serve you. When you are unable to trust the physical health of the people who are serving you, it should make for a very unpleasant experience.
Will Hays (Washington)
Dear Airbnb, You have instituted a Coronavirus cancellation policy for bookings with a cutoff date of 4/14. Bookings with a check-in date after 4/14 are not eligible for the full refund policy. Perhaps rather than using an arbitrary cutoff date that has no discernable relation to the ever-evolving coronavirus conditions, you could institute a policy that is logical, customer oriented, community minded, & consistent with your professed corporate values. Perhaps you could emulate the actions of true corporate role-models (e.g., sports teams and airlines) by choosing policies that serve the global community rather than your own company. Those companies are placing people's health above their bottom lines. That generates goodwill and leads to people making choices that are healthy for themselves and others. In contrast, your policy generates distrust and resentment and will lead people to proceed with trips that will put themselves and others at risk. Come on guys, this should be a no-brainer. You are a travel company. The only responsible thing for a travel company to do during a global pandemic is to stop promoting travel. You have a responsibility to engender community-oriented action through role modeling. You can do this by revising your cancelation policy. Anyone who has an Airbnb reservation, regardless of the dates of stay, should be able to cancel and receive a full refund until this crisis is over. Period. Simple. Logical. Understandable. Fair. Considerate. Responsible.
Tres Leches (Sacramento)
I would like to see the Times publish a list of large employers that DO have robust sick leave policies for their employees, especially those in the food service and retail industries. This will make it easier to know which businesses to patronize.
Stefan Hyttfors (Sweden)
This is a U.S. problem, not a company problem
J c (Ma)
I have no problem if the requirement is 1) ALL companies--no exceptions--are required to provide paid sick leave. 2) We do not limit the rise in prices these companies charge for their goods and services in response to this added expense. Note that this essentially becomes a sales tax on all goods and services provided by American workers. I'm fine with that, but it should be understood that sales taxes are regressive--that is, the burden as a proportion of income falls heavier the poorer you are.
Lola (Canada)
I haven't read all the comments yet, so perhaps this is redundant: Please, take note of all the big circles (the companies with the most workers without paid sick leave) and stop buying there. And, if you can, thank the smaller circle companies (and those too generous to make the chart at all) with your custom. In other words, vote with your wallet for good corporate behavior.
Donna V (United States)
@Lola A good reminder. People absolutely need to realize that with each purchase we are voting for the marketplace we want. A wise person once told me "The world is the way it is because most people want it that way." I would argue that mindful spending/consuming and mindful living would go a LONG way to change the status quo. As another wise person said "Be the change you want to see." Cheers
Elaine Caldwell (Brooklyn)
ALL the companies shown do not offer paid sick leave. The size of the circle is a graphic representation of the number of employees.
H.D. (Iowa)
@Elaine Caldwell WRONG! I work for one of those companies, I they DO offer PAID SICK LEAVE.
Laura Oswald (Chicago)
A massive consumer boycott of these companies would change policy. Capitalism works both ways.
Donna V (United States)
@Laura Oswald If we can get consumers to be even slightly inconvenienced we could make some amazing changes to the world. But when we're dealing with people who can't even bother to refill a water bottle, where does that leave us? Others' actions don't stop me from doing my best. But it'd be nice to have more company.
Meli M (Phoenix AZ)
Let's not forget all the contract workers (especially in IT) that only get paid sick time if the state requires it. In AZ they recently passed 40 hours per year. Until then we had no sick pay. This is a big trend in corporate tech because they save money and limit liability. Contracting companies offer disgraceful benefit plans and no sick time to their contractors that they are profiting from.
steve (hoboken)
Frankly this should be the straw the finally breaks the camel's back with respect to restaurant labor. To be direct, by and large, the restaurant business is nothing but a slave ship. For two centuries, workers have been paid largely via tips. That means the owners do not have to pay workers or, until relatively recently, only the bare minimum. It's time to change the model. What we need is for restaurant workers from the dishwashers on up to be paid a living wage. Janitors in schools and offices get a living wage plus benefits. There is no reason that restaurants cannot do the same. Here we are in the midst of a pandemic and one of the chief delivery mechanisms is food service workers. This is a national security issue that needs serious revisions now. Get busy.
Susannah Allanic (France)
Every single one of those companies should be brought up on criminal intent to do harm. They are depriving their employees so that their owners. leaders, and investors can make a profit off of their living time. Really, the worst thing that happened to the working class was the destruction of unions and the working classes are the ones that voted the unions for the politicians who are not representatives of the people but are bought and paid for by the rich.
Liza (Chicago)
Don't forget the casinos. Their employees have to pay hundreds of dollars a month to keep their benefits in force when they can't work full hours.
Berg Vik (Norway)
This would be the appropriate time for US billionaires to show how patriotic they are. They should donate to hospitals and health care workers and other vital public institutions. The Norwegian government declared it will spend 10 billion US dollars of the oil fund - our tax money - to help businesses in need and people most severely hit economically by the preventive measures. The difference between most Norwegian billionaires and American billionaires: Norwegian billionaires publicly declare they pay their taxes with pleasure.
David L, Jr. (Jackson, MS)
"Perhaps the most powerful counterpoint to the industry’s dire predictions is the simple fact that some profitable companies provide paid sick leave." It would really be something if some UNprofitable companies were paying sick leave. It's absurd to claim that the best counterpoint is that some companies are already providing the thing you insist the federal government make every business provide. Paid sick leave is something negotiated between an employee and an employer. If Americans demanded it in massive numbers, businesses would no doubt all offer it. But they don't. And many businesses can afford it, yes. But some cannot. If you mandate that all provide it, the ones who can't afford it will cut wages and hours and generally struggle to pick up the cost, which will hurt workers and consumers, especially workers who don't honestly care about paid sick leave -- the ones who just want a job. Turning things other people have to pay for into rights, which is something progressives excel at, means that someone is going to have to pay for these "rights." In this case, it will be employers, who were often themselves workers at some point. Paid sick leave will inevitably affect the quantity of jobs in some places, as well as benefits, pay, consumer prices, etc. Whether you support mandatory paid sick leave or not, it's important to grasp that those who oppose it, like those who oppose a $15-$20 minimum wage, are not evil. Progressives are seemingly unable to accept this.
WE need to reinstate some common good in this country. 1st Government is here to help you, must be reestablished. therefore We need to vote in November put Democrats in WH, House and Senate. This will be must arduous task than 2008 and democrats proved that they are the one they can do it. Milton Friedman 50 year reign on economy must end. We must reestablish John Maynard Keynes economy.
Aravinda (Bel Air, MD)
Now that the public is paying for sick leave for so many workers, will this public recognize that corporations need to provide paid sick leave and also pay their fair share of taxes to support Medicare for All? Will we demand it, vote for it and vote out those who oppose it? Or has that ship sailed?
Grace (Bronx)
Get real. The companies are not charities or public health service agencies. They need some profits to survive.
CarolinaJoe (NC)
@Grace Get real. Why only American companies can’t survive with paying sick leave?
David (Atlanta)
Sander supporters, or Marx himself, could not have drawn up a better scenario to grind this corrupt system to a halt. The masters know this stoppage is threatening the entire system and don't care how much sickness or death occurs. They haven't come out and said that publicly, but that's what they believe. They want us to treat this like a war, continue working, and manage the triage as best we can. Unfortunately, their subjects are ignoring their lies and not complying with their demands....and they can't stand it. Good job everyone.
Donna V (United States)
Years ago a grocery checker was red faced, sniffling, obviously very ill. I was in her line with two customers ahead of me. I switched lines to avoid her touching each and every one of my grocery items! Upon brief inquiry as to her condition by me, she said she couldn't afford to stay home. I went to the store manager and told him this wasn't acceptable - that a very ill worker was touching literally thousands of food items during her shift and she felt she couldn't afford to stay home, and that the store needed to provide sick leave. I stressed I didn't want her fired, nor was I upset with her personally. But I was aghast that the store put her in that position. How many elderly people got whatever flu she had? How many babies got sick from her handling the household food? This rock-and-a-hard-place situation needs to be fixed NOW. The CEOs who make 7000 times what their front line workers get paid could maybe dig down and find some money. Or alternately take it out of the company profits perhaps. If you elite won't cover the cost, it's absolutely the governments job to right these wrongs.
Beth (Philadelphia Pa)
As a small retailer asked to close for two weeks, is difficult but not impossible. We offer 5 sick days a year plus two week vacation and health insurance. However, after a two week closer things will get difficult. Paying vendors for unsold merchandise, continuing to support staff, paying rent, etc will require serious financial losses. If the Coronavirus encourages our government to remain closed until the disease subsides, probably July, we most likely will never recover. As decisions are made, hourly, by the government leaders, do keep in mind even the little guys, and girls.
Humanbeing (NY NY)
We need a national fund to supplement sick leave provided by small businesses so in a situation like this the business will not go under. I would be happy for some of my tax dollars to go there.
Ma (Atl)
Thousands of small businesses do not offer paid sick leave. The assumption here is that they can afford it, but choose to keep the money instead. This is not the case for most; their operating budgets are tight. I've also seen the paid sick leave abused. Example, every teacher I know saves their 'sick days' and attaches them to the end of their employment years for cash. Sick leave should be paid, but not accrued. It's there .for the sick to stay home. Tell that to anyone that gets sick 'days' and they'll scream! We need people to stay home, or be sent home, if they are truly sick. Maybe we could use the public sectors sick day accruals to help out? Or have some of the budget from the CDC for that purpose (Centers for Diseases and PREVENTION). Or, we could just legislate that everyone offer paid sick days and watch many businesses go out of business. Realize the timing of this discussion isn't ideal; we're in the middle of a pandemic and no one with symptoms should leave their house.
Margaret Metcalf (Portland, ME)
It would be nice if there was a diagram showing the percentage of workers, not just the total number.
Casey Jonesed (Charlotte, NC)
here is part of the problem. a big part. 'Democrats initially proposed including a permanent paid sick leave requirement in the coronavirus package. But business groups raised their eyebrows and Republicans insisted on its removal.' Dems backed away like they touched a hot stove. Dems don't fight. Dems only got sick leave for 46% of workers Dems pitiful.
Chuck (CA)
@Casey Jonesed In politics, getting bogged down into an ideology fight while trying to pass important legislation would mean nothing gets passed at all. Dems did the right thing in the first round here... compromising to get a number of very positive things into legislation for signature into law. They can, and I'm sure they will, press other measure, including closing the gap on sick leave next. You really need to stop being so binary in your thinking and condemning the only people actually working to get things done for workers here... the Democrats in the House.
@Casey Jonesed Then vote for Trump. Let's end the world
Jaime L. (NY)
Well, they have a problem now because people care about companies (especially food companies) having sick employees working and infecting customers. They may lose what they saved and more now.
WeHadAllBetterPayAttentionNow (Southwest)
Anyone who has Netflix should take the time to watch "Dirty Money, The Drug Short". Very illustrative of the state of American business today.
C (California)
The government is failing and only redistributes the wealth of those that can't afford lobbyists and/or PACs. The MSM is the enemy of the people and continually does nothing but polarize and agitate the electorate. The MSM is nothing more than a tool for the political parties. We are going to see the real value of our government and the media. There will be plenty of validation in the coming month of how useless our system of government is and how corrupt both parties are. The republic is lost. Vote them all out and vote 3rd party candidates in.
Gassy Jack (GLASGOW, Scotland)
I think that the USA is the only western industrialised country not to have statutory sick pay. Such a twisted set of values in a country which has contributed so much.
rebecca1048 (Iowa)
@Gassy Jack And when we don’t enjoy these things, like Medicare for All, we now know just who to blame.
Stephanie Wood (Montclair NJ)
These are mostly billion dollar companies, as if they couldn't afford paid sick leave! Maybe it's time the government forced them to do it. Why are we giving tax subsidies to so many of these companies?
Ken (St. Louis)
What else is new? Welcome to America.
lawrence (brooklyn)
An earlier editorial harummphed about 'blind spots' in sick pay and other supports -- huge companies, tiny companies -- but that story and every other has failed to mention or consider freelancers and other gig workers, despite their swelling ranks. These are often people with zero benefits, zero job protections, etc. Seriously? Talk about a blind spot.
Gerd (Texas)
@lawrence Problems like those have been regulated in Europe. It's not that easy anymore to hire a "freelancer" to do employee work. Of course, there are many people on the western shore of the Atlantic ocean who consider this kind of policy communist.
Allan Lindh (Santa Cruz, CA)
Why is Costco shown in the graphic as NOT offering sick leave, and then listed in the article as a company that DOES offer sick leave? Offering quantitative data is a great step forward. Now provide access to the data as a spreadsheet, so we can help you proofread and debug.
E. Sol (Portland)
Too few people earn sick time at work, but we all get sick. A shocking 40% of private-sector workers and 80% of low-income workers have no paid sick days from their job – not one. Every one of us gets sick occasionally, but not everyone gets the time they need to recover or care for sick family members – and it affects all of us. Have we all forgotten what labor unions do for us? A couple of days ago, I observed that Kroger employees were hard at work replenishing stock as shoppers were rushing down every aisle, grabbing extra provisions so they could go home and reduce exposure to the virus. The store workers, however, didn't have that choice. They were still working, exposed to hundreds of people that came through the doors. Could they afford to take unpaid sick leave? No. Would they jeopardize their job if they took unpaid sick leave? Probably. If it means driving further and paying more to shop where employees are provided paid sick leave as a policy - not short term stop gap - I'll support that store or coop. Listen up, Krogers, Walmarts and Whole Foods: Treat your employees with respect. Make paid sick leave a permanent policy.
Lonnie (New York)
On Friday I spoke to my manager. I work for one of the largest telecommunication companies in the world, I asked if I could work from home, I would do anything I could, from home, the answer was no, then I asked could I work a staggered shift so I am not around other people, since I have a lung condition, I was willing to come in between 5pm to 1am, again no. If there is one thing that stays consistent Is the amazing lack of long range thinking or any other kind of plan of action from every business. Everybody is running into dead ends, the people above you have no plans and they make everything worse, nobody is stepping up like they should, nobody has a solution. When there are solutions everywhere. We can no longer go on pretending this isn’t happening, it’s time to change everything . We have to adapt with the situation. 9 to 5 doesn’t exist in an emergency, we need to go 24 hours a day.
M Martínez (Miami)
Paying sick leave helps to reduce the possibility of an economic great depression. McDonald's reported in fiscal 2019 fourth-quarter net income of $1.57 billion. Yes, they should invest money in the future of America. They already have the resources. Shareholders should wait this time. The tax reform already helped them to be richer.
Barbara (Iowa)
It's depressing to see that the editorial, after criticizing various large companies, says, "What happens when the next pandemic arrives?" The clear implication is that it would be almost unthinkable to provide sick days -- even when there is no pandemic -- for the sake of the workers themselves.
hd (Colorado)
It is time we started taking care of low wage earners. This is a dire warning about supply chains that extent across the world. Nations, including the USA, need to starting think climate change will result in more of these pandemics. Countries need to have shorter supply lines for critical goods (e.g., food, hospital supplies and medicine). Global economies may be great when everything is humming along without a glitch. We now can see that this is not going to be the case in this instance and undoubtedly future such events. I'm happy to pay more for food and the salaries of workers if this makes us safer which it would seem to do.
embellishedlife (St. Albans NY)
Thank you for this article. As this epidemic is making us avoid certain places for our health, I'll make sure to remember to avoid these places in the future, and patronize the ones that pay a living wage and have applicable time off for their employees. This thing may last long enough where we won't miss them anyway.
Rock Winchester (Peoria)
I guess that the big campaign contributors to the House Democrats got their way. No substantial legislation that will decrease profits.
Allan Lindh (Santa Cruz, CA)
@Rock Winchester No the Republican donors got their way. The price Nancy Pelosi had to pay was compromise, getting the half loaf that can actually be eaten. This pandemic will get worse, much worse. She get more in the next iteration, as public outcry touches even the stone hearts of the Oligarchs.
Well, I hope this proves to all voters fighting for universal healthcare that our politicians will NEVER let that happen. We will have to burn the system down in order to have what Europe, Canada, and Australia has enjoyed for decades. Even with one of the worst pandemics hovering over us, our politicians will not force corporate greed to be even slightly curtailed. In Europe, they have 6 weeks PTO. The same companies that are here have offices in Europe. And please don’t put this at the feet of just republicans. I blame all the democrats who have shown their true colors this week. They didn’t fight for you at all. I hope everyone now sees what American workers are condemned to. We don’t have healthcare, mandatory PTO, or even mandatory paid maternity leave. They enjoy months of maternity leave in other countries. I have lost all faith in our government.
Keitr (USA)
Congress's refusal to require all businesses to offer paid sick leave to employees clearly demonstrates the corruption that is at the heart of our nation. It has been amply demonstrated that such policies would cost businesses very little. It would only slightly reduce their control of their enterprises and greatly increase the freedom of workers who could now choose to stay home if ill (let us not forget that in America employers can fire workers at will if they call in sick). Moreover, the benefit to our nation's public health would be significant. Yet, Congress is adamant in denying this possible diminishing of business profit or business owners' dictatorial control of their enterprises. Such is the narrow self-interest and self-love of American businessmen and women and the members of Congress who are their devoted servants.
Lonnie (New York)
Day after day I wait for someone to step up in the world of business, somebody who switches over from making caps to making face masks, stores that put no hording policies in place, just one person who steps up, is it really that hard to make hand sanitizer, to make Lysol, just one person, and the funny part , it’s great advertisement and people will remember it. Just one person. Anybody who makes food products and home supplies is making an absolute fortune. Somebody somewhere step up. It would be a ray of light amongst the gloom.
Gerald (New Hampshire)
NYT, thanks for this article. We’re all flying by the seat of our pants right now and it’s good to have criteria about where we decide to go when we venture out. If we have a choice of supporting companies that take the best care of their staff, let’s do it.
Chuck (CA)
FACT: nothing stops companies from changing the coverages and copays on their current healthcare plans to employees to deal with unusual costs associated with COVID-19 infection. In fact, I would argue that companies are much more nimble and able to address this than waiting on Congress and the White House to do anything. This week, my wife (who is an HR director in a big tech company in silicon valley) was leading a cross functional team at her company to determine how to address needs of the workforce in a time of pandemic stresses and pressures, and gain CEO approval. Outcome from that task force after just three days: 1) extend paid sick leave to all employees by 2 weeks, immediately. 2) enable 4 week short term paid time off for any employee that has to deal with an infected family member. 3) put the companies long term paid leave program administrator on notice to prepare and to respond to employees needing longer term paid leave due to COVID-19. 4) Immediately issue directions to the entire work force to being working remotely from home for at least the next three weeks, and review and revise accordingly as time goes on. 5) negotiated with all healthcare plans offered by the company to immediately remove all copays and deductibles for any medical tests, or treatment, required due to COVID-19 Congress dithers on a workforce assistance plan, the White House continues to misinform and misdirect the public... but companies do have the power to act now.
J. Waddell (Columbus, OH)
@Chuck Obviously also a very profitable tech company with high profit margins. There are a lot of companies that would go out of business if they had to bear these additional expenses.
William Neil (Maryland)
It's unbelievable. Thank you for this and the Pelosi sell out editorials. Sander's policies would address the core issues here. But the reaction against him is indicative of the arrogance and power of corporate America, and the many small businesses who don't know anything about a "social contract," the one torn up by Centrist Democrats and the Republican Right, including "Libertarians," since 1980. It will come back to haunt us on a very practical level. The treatment of Sanders here and by the other candidates - no endorsements - is a fair barometer that it is corporate and business American which does not know how to compromise - not just Senator Sanders - and he shouldn't, on his Second Bill of Rights grounding for rights to medical care, a job and housing...these are basic rights without which the race behind the American Dream is a largely "rigged" one... Why don't we ask ourselves what FDR would do?
CarolinaJoe (NC)
@William Neil Voters didn’t vote for Sanders. Why keep you blaming everyone else?
DJG (Canada)
Amazon is gouging. Sellers are also gouging ON Amazon, but Amazon itself has dramatically raised it's own prices on essentials in the leadup to this pandemic. There is independent research on this. It's tragic that most the reporting has been on individual gougers and so little on the corporate monsters who negatively affect millions more people. Kudos to the NYT for this piece, but there's more to be done to hold companies accountable for their misdeeds during this critical time.
Neil (USA)
I am looking forward to my paid sick leave, I am going to take a 2 weeklong cruise I hear they have a fire sale right now!
Maria (Orange County, CA)
The executives at Walmart, McDonalds and the rest are just like 19th century robber barons who used child labor and other cruel and inhumane labor practices to hoard money from the rest of society. Money hoarding comes from the same human mental frailty as toilet paper hoarding, but with more tragic results. Their enrichment, power, and abuse of power is the natural result of Republican policies allowed to slide down the slippery slope of the last 40 years. If you have 2 part time jobs, send your children to sub-par schools, and have no healthcare in America today, stop voting Republican. They just aren't that into you.
AJ (Trump Towers sub basement)
Not usually an advocate of lawsuits, my suggestion: Every business that sickens a customer because a sick worker didn't stay at home, worried about not being paid or other negative repercussions at work, be sued for personal liability and societal irresponsibility (if there's no such thing, there should be). If the "American way" is that businesses have the freedom to do what they want and the "market" will keep them in line, let's allow the American tradition of lawsuits to do its part in our markets.
Michael Blazin (Dallas, TX)
People that go to stores, unless dragged into them, make their own choices to accept the risk and consequently have no standing in the suit.
Gerd (Texas)
@Michael Blazin Of course they have standing, the question is if they win on the merits.
AJ (Trump Towers sub basement)
@Michael Blazin So a delivery company that deliberately doesn't want to know if its drivers are drunk, has no liability, because pedestrians and other drivers were not "dragged" on to the road shared by them?
Chris K (Austin)
This is why the Democratic Party has failed over the past few decades—because the so-called moderates aren’t really moderate. If you can’t even get over the absurdity of concessions to major companies to give sick leave in the middle of a pandemic—leaving maybe 20 million workers uncovered—the party will never beat Trump. Biden refuses to cover even everybody in this crisis—the only major Democratic candidate this cycle not too. Bernie Sanders for all his faults is the only leader poising enough change to address this crisis.
CarolinaJoe (NC)
@Chris K So why voters didn’t vote for Bernie? They decided Bernie is out.
CGatesMD (Bawmore)
Over the next few weeks, you will see, hear, and read from "experts" that this "market correction" isn't like the 2008 recession, or the 2001 recession, or the 1980s recession. They will tell you that all those economic markets had structural problems, but this market doesn't. However, that's because most Western economists don't consider people and their lives as part of the economic market. A person is just one tool an employer has to increase profits. If a machine is a cheaper tool, that worker will be (and has been) replaced, but it is not the employer's job to find another purpose for the tool. It's disposable. Well, now all those tools are getting sick. Those tools aren't buying tickets, coffee, burgers, and toys. Suddenly, these employers who were comfortable using tools to make money are shocked that they can't afford to miss a day of work. They can't afford to hire a nanny to take care of their children. They can't afford to pay a tutor to make sure their children don't fall behind and get trapped in a cycle of endless poverty. Suddenly, all these "experts" see a novel problem linked solely to a novel virus. The problem is structural. If the corporations and bums on the plush that use people as tools paid their fair share to keep us all safe, we could afford universal access to healthcare, universal minimum income, and paid sick leave. Instead we have a white-haired fool and his orange boss telling us it's all OK. If you have money, maybe, but not for human tools.
H.D. (Iowa)
@CGatesMD "we could afford universal access to healthcare, universal minimum income, and paid sick leave." Says who? You? Please produce your numbers. Let me ask this CGatesMD, are YOU going to ensure YOUR clinic nurse, POD secretary, clinic lab technician(s) and coding personal recieve 2,3 or 4 weeks of paid sick leave? As an MD, you yourself are "on the plush" Please share what YOU are DOING to remedy such wrongs in your own immediate healthcare circle. Please be specific.
CGatesMD (Bawmore)
@H.D. First, let me clear up any confusion. I am in Maryland (MD), not a doctor (M.D.). Second, I don't have time to produce the numbers in less than 1500 characters. I'd suggest looking at the various experiments of guaranteed minimum income and, in light of this crisis, ask if we can afford it. As for universal access to healthcare and paid sick leave, there are plenty of models to look at around the world. They are functioning better now than the one we have in the US. They can at least test for for the virus. Finally, as a part-time teacher and full-time caregiver, I assure you that I am not a bum on the plush. It was nice chatting with you, but I won't be back to this post anytime soon. Stay well.
Prad (CA)
For the duration of a public health emergency, all senior members of the Adminstration and all elected members of Congress should extend the same sick pay benefit and testing and treatment that they enjoy to all the people - that would eliminate politics and profit motives, to focus on public health that impacts us all.
SomewhereOutWest (WA)
So Walmart is owned by one of the richest families in the world. They already don't pay their fair share of taxes and now we the taxpayer will get to bail them out with federal mandated sick leave? I am all for the government helping small business in times like this but wealthy corporations need to start paying their fair share.
H.D. (Iowa)
@SomewhereOutWest Walmart is a publicly traded company. Please be specific in how this Fortune 5 company is not "paying their fair share." Please show your work.
Ray (Seattle)
Cedars Sinai Hospital in LA is offering employees a chance to win $5,000. If they don’t use any sick leave by the end of flu season. Not much incentive to stay home when sick.
Robert Black (Florida)
Please keep things in perspective. Jobs that are easy to placed will never have sick day benefits in this country provided by employers. Never. What would be the result? Employers will have to increase employee count by 20pct. Health care is the same. Employers will never do it. Never So the only option left is government benefits. That won’t happen either. Never.
Tony Merriman (New Zealand / Alabama)
The US never ceases to amaze me in its drive for inequality. No paid sick leave for most service / retail / food industries. C'mon.
joelibacsi (New York NY)
What upsets me about this editorial is not the support of paid sick leave itself but rather the use of a national emergency to support a position. What we really do NOT need at this time is a politicizing of the pandemic -- from any end of the political spectrum. Lets support paid sick leave during this critical time and leave the discussion of social policy for quieter times.
Dennis (Maine)
There are no quiet times anymore.
Maria (Orange County, CA)
@joelibacsi That "you need to wait" attitude is a tool used by those in power to ensure no changes happen.
Brain (USA)
Democrats are so weak! They caved to all Republicans requests and voted give Trump another term, if not more. What's next, they'll agree to postpone elections indefinitely?
Rolfneu (California)
Just perfect example of "Penney wise, pound foolish" thinking by the business community and most Republicans. When sick workers don't stay home, we all pay the price. The price we pay of course is a multiple of the cost had the sick worker stayed home. Coming to work didn't help the sick worker to ge thealthy but definitely exposed others at work and customers to become I'll. They in turn then could spread illness further if it was contagious. When will we start to think long term and not just for the moment? This coronavirus epidemic will show us in very stark economic cost and social turmoil and pain what happens when we do short term thi king and worse lie about the problem as Trump has done.
How about Facebook? They outsource many jobs and pay close to minimum wage. Out of a minimum wage job these employees need to pay their own health insurance. Currently, as all Facebook employees have been encouraged to work from home, these tertiary employees are mandated to work on site. Even if the work is all computer work and could easily be done safely at home. Apparently some lives are more valuable than others! The classism is sickening.
apparatchick (Kennesaw GA)
The Times should publish the salaries of the CEOs of these companies.
Maria (Orange County, CA)
@apparatchick along with how many basic healthcare insurance policies could be obtained with a reasonable 50% cut in pay for these parasites.
Michael Blazin (Dallas, TX)
You might try Google if you want to know. The salaries are in public records.
Grove (California)
Money over people is the Republican way. That’s why we are here.
Girish Kotwal (Louisville, KY)
I salute the brave men and women who keep businesses open with appropriate hygienic precautions . I was so happy that my favorite restaurant for Sunday brunch was open and had a hand sanitizer for customers to use before and after they touch the buffet utensils. Companies and individuals should stop price gouging and putting profits ahead of public health. But public should appreciate the bravery of those who show up to work and keep businesses open during the panic pandemic. Normally I tip 20% but today I tipped 30% to show my appreciation for the amigos and amigas who bravely showed up to work as though there was no monster making its rounds. As far as President Trump testing negative if I were Trump, I would not take that as being conclusive. Testing for deadly viral nucleic acid is a lot more complex than testing for antibodies from any infection. The timing is of the essence. After exposure it takes several days to cause an infection and if a person washes off the exposure then there may not be an infection and if there is a low level of infection then it may not cause any symptoms. After exposure that is not washed away there could be several days before the virus can be detected and give a false negative result if tested. So important to monitor Trump on a weekly basis. Persons over 65 are especial vulnerable and should receive prompt medical attention as soon as any sign of elevated temperature is detected. Those who trust in God, pray God save our president and all
Donna Chang (New York)
Fox News viewers should follow the advice of Rep. Devin Nunes. Fox viewers only, please.
@Donna Chang Donna Why so hostile? How is that helpful?
xzr56 (western us)
Hey people! Live below your means and save your money to buy the smallest living unit ;possible and pay it off free and clear ASAP. Only then can you weather whatever storms the world launches your way.
Robert L. (RI)
"Paid sick leave is standard in other developed nations..." but remember we are MAGA with donald trump ... so sad.
Tentoesover (Virginia)
I want TNYT, CNN, MSNBC, etc., to ask trump at the next news conference if his companies (if they shut down or cut back) are giving employees paid leave or financial help during this crisis. If trump blows the question off, I would hope the news organizations would gang up on him and cause him to answer the question or shut down the conference and have him run off with his tail between his legs (and pence right behind him).
Michael Blazin (Dallas, TX)
If he cannot have an active role in the management, as these same news organizations demanded, how could he change an absence policy?
Dr. Diane (Ann Arbor, MI)
It would be a wonderful good deed if Mr. Sanders concedes after this upcoming primary so that other states can contain the spread of the virus. He will not get much extra love by dragging out this contest. He has slim chances of winning and he has already influenced the party platform. Showing concern for others now will speak louder than any speech could. It would make all of this emergency behavior seem well advised. It would provide an excellent example to all the other powerful white men of how we can, in an abundance of humility and true compassion for others, truly elevate the human race l’chaim!
R In The West (WA)
I’d say the same to Biden: gracefully drop out now.
hd (Colorado)
@Dr. Diane I agree but it should be Biden.
Dr. Diane (Ann Arbor, MI)
Biden is winning. Sanders is losing or haven’t you noticed?
Gary Ward (Durham)
My understanding is that the bill requires paid sick leave of up to 14 days during a public health emergency by all employers and that employers with under 50 employers will be reimbursed by the government for giving their employees paid sick leave.
Tony Frank (Chicage)
Money and profits are always more important to the majority of ceo's and boards of directors. For them, it is ALWAYS about the money (unfortunately). Not many professionals with morals, ethics and character make it to the top of large corporations that are run strictly for profits (regardless of what it takes).
Marcus Brant (Canada)
This pandemic should create a tectonic shift in the social fabric of capitalistic nations. Unless we take care of each other, provide sick pay and healthcare, sickness will prosper and proliferate. Workers who cannot afford sick leave or medical care will be the Typhoid Marys of every economic sector. It’s a tragedy in itself that the tragedies inherent in a contagion should be the clarion call to unite as an international community and to mitigate the risks and adverse conditions of our most vulnerable. Political doctrine pales next to premature demise. Once this pandemic is contained, we should not return to our reverie. Governments need to act to make sick pay and basic health benefits mandatory in all occupations. Conservatives and capitalists may rail and agonise at the prospect, but it is the parsimony of capitalism that has helped to perpetuate this and every other epidemic by limiting or directly obstructing access to sick pay and healthcare. Mother Nature is giving us a punitive lesson in how important we all are to each other and how money can save lives and not just benefit the burgeoning accounts of the wealthy.
whaddoino (Kafka Land)
Here's a thought. How about companies treat the human beings that work in them as well as their machines and robots?
phil (CA)
Perhaps larger businesses like Chipotle, Starbucks and Olive Garden could afford a permanent paid sick leave policy, but small businesses would never be able to afford this. If large corporations all paid their fair share of taxes, we would be able to have health care and paid sick leave for all. We need to vote for politicians who are ready to do the hard work and stand up for working families. This virus has done one positive thing: it has clearly demonstrated the unfairness of America's economic system. We need to change it.
Deus (Toronto)
Clearly, in what can be easily described as the "dog eat dog, winner take all" society of America, "the chickens eventually come home to roost". Whether it be a lack of universal health care and/or paid family sick leave, those that are the most vulnerable are ultimately always the ones who will pay the highest price and this group makes up at least HALF, if not more, of the country. We know that Trump and his Trumpublicans will do nothing about these issues(probably make them worse), yet,during these primaries because the establishment keeps telling voters over and over again that Biden has a better chance than Sanders of beating Trump, they are willing to choose a candidate who will do nothing about these important policy isues either, in fact, Biden has recently stated publicly that even if an M4A bill passed Congress, as President, he would veto it! It makes no sense. This is the same democrat "playbook" of 2016. Where are your priorities America?
Gary Ward (Durham)
The rub is that the poor workers without paid sick leave will pass it on to their customers. Those customers may be older and the effects of the coronavirus may be more harmful up to being lethal to them.
kirk (montana)
Republicans believe in self-sufficiency. The right to die from an illness, broken ash pond, climate change etc. They believe in greed as being the only motivating factor in human activity. They are ignorant. Modern society is complex and needs complex solutions that greed does not provide. There is a social responsibility that comes with living in a complex modern society and greedy capitalism does not belong here. Capitalism with a forced social responsibility is the only viable solution. Vote the greedy republicans out of office.
Meredith (New York)
We lag dozens of countries in modern norms --- guaranteed affordable health care and national paid sick leave for all. America is abnormal. In this type of country, a Trump type can be elected, abuse his power, and basically insult the country daily. Future Trump types lurk in the swamp, ready to surface in our politics. Wikipedia--- “Paid sick leave is a statutory requirement in most European, many Latin American, a few African and Asian countries…” Statutory? That means by law. Here, that's blocked as too left wing, radical, big -govt interference in 'Freedom'. So, our politics puts millions of Americans at greater risk re health, safety, and financial security. What's the vaccine for this syndrome of distortion that infects the White House, Courts, Senate and many state governments? What concrete, positive role models can we use to cleanse our political culture, and bring us up to 20th century standards of other countries? American politics calls Health Care for All too 'extreme'.But what's real extremism is NOT having it. What's extreme is basing HC, a life/death issue, on private profit, leaving out millions of Americans, making them 2nd class citizens. Then using Trumped-up excuses for this abuse of the public.
Rick Johnson (NY,NY)
The first sign of the epidemic of the coronavirus 19 was several months ago in China. Remarks from Pres. Donald Trump this is a common cold ill goal way. Pres. Donald Trump allies in the Senate finally resolved to pass the bill on coronavirus 19 may be too late to the show but something is better than doing nothing like the do-nothing Senate Republicans. Now the president Donald Trump blame the corona -19 for the stock markets but if you look at it 2 months ago we were going in the slump due to Pres. Donald Trump tariffs. So now he can blame is on something house but the buck stops there at the oval office, as much as he lies and tells American people a different story he'll feel better about himself but one thing he's a con artist. Just like his amateur 15 years show the apprentice Uncle Sam what a fire him a long time ago for a bad job done as president of the United States. It's amazing how wide Americans sing praises to this president with their Bibles. It's sad to say that some Americans cannot see or too ignorant to understand what Pres. Donald Trump is doing to America but it will be too late the damage will be done as a leaving office in exile to another country preference Russia in love with Putin President Donald Trump all Americans can hold tight for November 3, 2020, cannot come soon enough. He should take William Barr with him and the dysfunctional senators Republicans too.
Bubo (Virginia)
The National Review has a long article on why paid leave "can't" be imposed on businesses. That it will foster dependency, that it will bankrupt businesses, etc. Even though we're the only developed country currently without it. And no one else seems the worse for it.
Antoinette (USA)
The world will never be the same after this. We will forever be avoiding social contact, which is totally reasonable with so many billions people around. Travel and hospitality will never return. Services will crash and take whatever is left of the economy with them. This decade will set the tone for the century.
Roxy (CA)
Though the state of California has a generous leave program, co-workers often come to work sick. Personnel said they cannot legally tell them--or even recommend them-- to stay home. But they can tell staff not to wear perfume to work. Something really stinks about this, and it isn't someone's perfume.
Frances (San Rafael, CA)
Thank you for this report. I plan, in the future, to go to eat at places that offer sick pay. I noticed that you said that Safeway offered sick pay, but you had it listed in your bubble chart, so that is confusing. If the bubble has no numbers then that means they offer sick pay? A little more info on the chart would be helpful.
Gwen Vilen (Minnesota)
I am all for paid sick leave with or without the Coronavirus. But at this point I am wondering what will be worse - deep sizing the economy or the Coronavirus. This is not a plague that kills every person it infects in 24 hours like the bubonic plague did in the Middle Ages. Most people who get it recover. Since we hear nothing about how this affecting third world countries I am beginning to think this is a First World panic of unprecedented proportions. What good will it do to put millions of people out of work so they can’t pay for basic necessities or provide for their families. Perhaps we need to re-evaluate out priorities.
Maria (Orange County, CA)
@Gwen Vilen The problem is that our healthcare system cannot handle a rush of cases all at once. Social distancing prevents the fastest spread of the disease so we don't have healthcare workers deciding who gets treatment and who sits in a hallway and dies with no ventilator.
ewisco (Norcal)
Something I haven’t seen much discussion about but is every bit important as pains sick leave is paid family leave because the schools/daycares have shut down. I’m currently working with my folks to find out what it means in each individual case so we can hopefully come up with a plan that limits unpaid time off.
mgsquared (San Francisco Bay Area)
Please include the bar owners in this list. Not closing the bars or clubs at night is dangerous to the rest of the population. I understand the "young" are less likely to get sick but they are still carriers. Why can't the govt close all unessential businesses, and suspend mortgages/rent for those business and then give them low cost loans to cover them until this passes? Is it because govt is synonymous with Trump--an ineffective despot?
Michael Blazin (Dallas, TX)
Those closures are for the nation’s mayors and state officials, as empowered by their sovereign state constitutions. The Federal Government is not in a position to determine the closure of every business or when. We have government at various levels in this gigantic nation.
Mark (Idaho)
Given the frequency of people dining out, for Catholics who still eat fish on Friday, particularly during Lent, isn't it time for The Pope to suspend the requirement for the remainder of 2020? Many, if not most, people who eat out frequently are less than well-skilled when it comes to preparing fish at home, so why doesn't the Catholic church give them a break until the coronavirus pandemic is over?
rebecca1048 (Iowa)
@Mark Although, I’m no longer a practicing Catholic, I grew up in a staunch Catholic home which practiced no meat on Fridays during lent. I think, tuna on toast points, salmon patties, and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup were invented in these homes, because, we never ate out.
Michael Blazin (Dallas, TX)
The apostolic authorities of the Church, the dioceses’ ruling bishops, have full authority to exercise that power when each feels necessary. Some bishops, after discussion with local authorities, have exercised that authority, e.g., Dallas.
Ted (NY)
Tentative measures and hiding the facts will simply have a greater catastrophic impact on Americans and the economy. We desperately need good leadership to guide the country through this pandemic. Trump is not it! Dr. Anthony Fauci is the closest we have, though, one senses he’s being incredibly careful how he addresses this catastrophe in the making, for fear of offending Trump. Fox Cable must be stopped and punished under the law for disseminating misinformation and putting the public at risk; essentially, their broadcasts are like denying the theater is on fire as the flames engulf the building. BTW, Dr Zeke Emanuel should just go away. His main call to fame is having been propped up by his brother Rahm Emanuel when he was Obama's Chief of Staff. But otherwise, zilch! Circumstances have given the nation a chance to right all that is wrong and has been made worse under Trump. If most Americans can’t come up with $400 under an emergency, this is it. Financial benefits and proper healthcare testing and support has to be extended to all Americans for as long as needed.
Max Collodi (Philadelphia)
A lot of un-learning is necessary. For the past forty years we have been told that employee salaries and benefits are too generous with government jobs the biggest offender. The private sector with the government's help has put a lid on hourly wages, reduced defined pensions, discouraged unions, reduced medical benefits as well a sick leave and vacation time. While all levels of government managed to hang on to wages and benefits, the sheer number of government jobs has been reduced. While stockholders and corporate executives have reaped the benefits of deregulation and low taxes, workers have seen their standard of living decline. Hence, the top 1% owns the country. Until the balance of power shits back from stockholders' needs to workers' needs with an unneutered government, domestic crises will be more difficult to solve. The private sector will play a major role in the resolution of the corona virus but we'd be in a better position had there been earlier government coordination and if more workers had paid sick leave and heath benefits.
HH (Rochester, NY)
Paid sick leave for a couple of weeks during this epidemic is one thing. But many NYC teachers want to close the schools for the remainder of the school year. Meanwhile the teachers would continue to receive their full pay and benefits - and then take their summer off as usual. How about helping the beleaguered taxpayers? I have to wonder about the motivation of NYC teachers who want to close schools while the those same teachers continue to collect their paychecks for several months. How about sharing the pain? Give up 25% or even 50% of the salary so the taxpayers will have a lesser burden to bear when the schools reopen.
Max Collodi (Philadelphia)
Summers off as usual, those darn teachers. The average taxpayer would be less beleaguered if corporations paid their fair share at a rate commensurate with their profits. So let’s squeeze what can out of those lazy and overpaid teachers. Forty years of right wing messaging has worked splendidly.
rebecca1048 (Iowa)
@Max Collodi Well, I don’t mind supporting teachers, but, twice, now, they have refused to support the Medicare for All candidate? Why do they keep asking us to support them, yet they can’t return the favor?
Max Collodi (Philadelphia)
@rebecca1048 Let's not turn this into a Bernie referendum. I was responding to anti-public education sentiment. Nothing would make them happier than to divide us on Medicare for All while Trump swoops in for a win, again.
Ghost (NYC)
Just stop. These jobs aren’t meant to be life careers. Those that work there and are good quickly get on the career path with sick leave.
@Ghost Yes. Some will move up. Many will not. Everyone is not as capable as you may be. So we should just treat them poorly? How uncharitable. How unkind.
Althea (Brooklyn, NY)
Thank you for compiling this list of businesses to avoid!
running believer (Chicago)
Democrats initially proposed including a permanent paid sick leave requirement in the coronavirus package. But business groups raised their eyebrows and Republicans insisted on its removal. It is a decision for which Americans should hold businesses AND REPUBLICANS accountable."
Marcus Brant (Canada)
The coronavirus pandemic will, like any other form of warfare, be borne by the lowest common denominator in society, the poor and underprivileged. While Trump boasts low unemployment, the inequalities exposed by the gig economy and service industry, which generate much of these employment gains, shows how these figures demonstrate indentured servitude in lieu of the American Dream. The almost complete absence of socialised medicine in America will now become an immense election issue as the working poor will be bankrupted by no sick pay provisions and a lack of accessible healthcare. As much as Trump has derided and undermined the Affordable Care Act, regardless of job gains, this is the one thing that should bring him down. Certainly, the political profiles of presidential contenders like Sanders and Warren who advocate universal medicine will be boosted exponentially and, whether Republicans like it or not, Obamacare is here to stay.
Li (Santa Cruz, CA)
It is more important for the success of our country, in fact our very way of life, to ensure that we have billionaires and 100-millionairees, and that Wall St, the military, and the medico-pharma complex rule. Clearly, having a decent social safety net and healthcare system are threats to the very existence of our democracy and freedom The Republican and Democrat parties are the two-headed enemy of the American people. This much is now clear as day.
Portola (Bethesda)
Excuse me, please do not lump the Democratic Party into your categorical denunciation, thank you.
disillussioned1 (virginia)
Before everyone jumps on the bandwagon for unlimited paid sick leave, let's make sure that the law is clear about what illnesses qualify and the right of qualified personnel engaged by the employer to periodically examine the sick employee. I managed a small European company that had several "permanently sick" employees who showed up to work the requisite one day a year while in fact moonlighting elsewhere the other 249 days a year. That said, in industries that are not in competition with foreign underpaid labor, requiring health coverage and paid sick leave leaves virtually all employers in the same situation they were in before the requirement. No one goes to Mexico for their sandwich, massage, oil change, or grocery shopping.
Orion (Los Angeles)
For a country with this much inequality, big companies should have some morality in their practices especially if they want consumers to spend money at their stores. I no longer feel good about spending money in some of these companies so I won’t. It is also a pragmatic matter, do you want a sick employee handling your food. Chipotle, Madaconalds, Subway, SHAME on you for your treatment of millions of your workers and your consumers.
Kevin (SF)
Easy-peasy: let's just create a $1.5T package that mitigates the financial impact, focused on the most vulnerable, providing sick leave for all, free medical access, etc. and softens the blow to businesses -- if they spend an equal amount on these services for their employees. Oh, wait! Two years ago, we took a growing and healthy (Obama) economy and went $1.5T further into debt for corporate/ 1% percenter welfare. Never mind.
arm19 (Paris/ny/cali/sea/miami/baltimore/lv)
Lyft and uber have maintained their share rides options, which, in these circumstances is criminal. They say they care as they hand us hand sanitizer. They closed their hubs, because those good peoples are employees, but for us who are on the frontlines, the drivers, just keep on doing rides and if you are a sick and you can prove it maybe we will help you for 2 weeks. And you have to love this government package that does absolutely nothing for us, which is why the democrats are as worthless as the republicans. America, the corporate fascist state where greed, irresponsibility, short term profit rule.
Janet (USA)
It's still better than public transportation, though. Public transit will be crushed by this epidemic in America, and will never come back.
Michael Blazin (Dallas, TX)
Would you rather ride mass transit? You think that means is cleaner? I would take my chances with Uber.
Greendog (not far enough)
Meanwhile, in Europe, Trump is said to be trying to bribe some german scientists and companies working on a vaccine ... So, you know, America First, Great or whatever ...
Euxinus (California)
Great list. It should be kept on the 1st page as long as possible. Remember that low prices you pay doing business with these, come at the social cost of denying basic human rights to employees. Every time you buy your low quality burger at MCD or shop at WMT, you encourage an unacceptable behavior towards a fellow human being.
Des Johnson (Forest Hills NY)
The headline illustrates widespread failure in America, indeed, in the modern western model of capitalism. "...Putting profits ahead of [XX}..." Fill in the blanks. Isn't that the essence of the American miracle? When I look at pictures of the "bottlenecks" at airports and of darkened Broadway, I think as I do when I see the chaotic, polluting traffic in Manhattan: behold the wonders of the free market--and tremble. Prophets of greed tell us government is bad, and make sure that governments function in prophesy-fulfilling ways. And now, as always, they want government to compensate for the slackness of the free market. Walmart and other mega-rich corporations do not provide adequate or broadly-based compensation packages, so once more, having privatized mega-profits, we must socialize the costs of stupidity.
Honor senior (Cumberland, Md.)
Those who have not given thought to a Natural Disaster, will either learn or perish; this is America, we are a tough group to bring down, we can and will, fight for what we believe and to survive! Our Media Fearmongers are just ignorant and uncivilized older kids trying to frighten younger kids!
Nazmus Saquib (Green point, Brooklyn)
Is it me feeling this way, or educated middle class ( know how to read/afford an English newspaper) acts like that they did not know that they were all along part of the capitalist system that exploits workers of all kind and preys on most vulnerable folks, such as undocumented workers. Will, they ever able to show solidarity to a vulnerable person, which might cause them inconvenience? I am guessing people who wrote this piece, eat outside in Manhattan, where undocumented workers work for fewer wages ( this applies to all service industries, means people who can afford the labor of other people to jobs that they find is waste of their valuable time). Will, they ever able to find a way to speak up against the exploitation of working-class who cooked a meal for them, clean their office floors and toilets, or even pushing the stroller of their kids. My experience living in NY as an immigrant says no, and the voting record of financially solvent "Moderates" proves the same. I hate to belive that Thomas Hobbs may be right about the kind of animal humans are. Solidarity does not exist when it comes between privileges, power, and self-interest. And if he is right, the working-class must educate themselves to protect their interests, and gain power. This is a class war, and the working-class needs to build common ground to fight against the middle class and up, and white supremacy.
MichiganMichael (Michigan)
I worked for the federal civilian government for 30 years. It has a very liberal, easy-to-use sick leave policy whereby a worker begins earning sick leave hours on Day One. The policy is well-publicized and well-known. It is also not abused to a large extent - in fact, about the only time the public hears about it is when a union asks its employees to "call in sick"...the "sick out" muscle used in times on contentious negotiations. Sure, sick leave costs employers some, but as the piece has made clear, having sick employees working also costs...often much more. So come on, corporate heads (looking at you @Waffle House). Release the goodwill and make sick leave available, reasonable, understood, and risk-free. Your employees will stay longer
Marston Gould (Seattle, WA)
How many fast food/retail workers now wished they worked at Starbucks?
Max Deitenbeck (Shreveport)
@Marston Gould Most probably wish they didn't have to work in the service industry at all. The service industry is virulently slave labor. If you can't pay your Bill's and have a little left over your employer is a criminal.
vlancaster (dc)
We need Bernie - these are the issues he has been trying to push to the forefront for years!
Per Axel (Richmond, VA)
Healthcare is notorious for demanding its employees show up for work when sick. They bring this up at each evaluation, which is usually every 6 months in healthcare. We ALL understand the need to staff for patients. But what will you do when your staff is sick? Frequently your most very qualified and capable people will move to another hospital. I have. It has not in any way effected my hiring. I have a skill set they really want, and my skill set will generate gozillions of dollars for the hospital. ICU, all Critical Care, OB-Gyn, ER and OR nurses are hard to find. So yes when my local fast food place fires workers, they are usually replaced with much less qualified workers who also care very little for the quality of their work. And it shows. Big chain stores are also poor emloyeers. An urecognized fact of the Affordable Care Act was the even low paid workers could get health insurance, and KEEP working with these very low paying companies. Paid sick leave will allow your underpaid workers to keep working for you. Let me put it this way for business owners, how much does it cost you to put an employee on the payroll? And can you continue to do this month in and month out? To put a RN on staff, working on a floor, can cost upwards of $30,000. All that government/payroll rigamarole. Then you spend weeks training them in your institutions policy and procedures, then they get a mentor till they settle in, costing you 2 employees wages and benefits.
Max Deitenbeck (Shreveport)
@Per Axel I was a support staff member at a large hospital. I showed up one day with the flu. My boss sent me home immediately. While hospital workers are essential my experience tells me those in charge will follow guidelines and not let those who are ill work.
John Jolley (San Diego, CA)
I’m a delivery driver for Pizza Hut in San Diego. I get paid sick leave through the city, but like many workers, am unable to use it for fear of retaliation - hours being cut, etc. My boss sent out a mass text yesterday explicitly telling everyone at my store that if they call out sick, their hours will be cut and given to other, “more dependable” employees. Paid sick leave is worthless if workers are made to feel like they can’t use it.
Max Deitenbeck (Shreveport)
@John Jolley I was an assistant manager at a Domino's. It was in a college town and most of our people were students. The manager told any of his people who wanted to go home on holidays that they might not have a job when they returned. That despite the fact that our sales were cut in half when the students were away. That manager was a moron.
Kyle (Nyc)
@John Jolley Take a screenshot of that text and send it to your department of health.
Socrates (Downtown Verona. NJ)
Great reporting, John Jolley. This is why Corporate America needs serious government regulation. Greed Over People is a suicidal-fratricidal recipe.
rbjd (California)
We can pull $1.5 TRILLION out of thin air in TWO DAYS to juice the stock market, but we can't provide basic sick leave and health care to workers. Enjoy your consumer spending pause Corporate Captains of America, you earned it.
Michael Blazin (Dallas, TX)
That 1.5 trillion did not actually buy anything. It just became another form of investment, that by the way, generates interest. The Fed is not giving out money, whatever headlines that journalists that do understand banking write. The Fed always makes a profit, because, it’s the Fed.
Elizabeth (Cincinnati)
A federal requirement for company to provide sick leave may seem a good idea, but it won't work. Many businesses that are already suffering from a lack of customers will simply shuttered its business, and there will always be a small business exemption. More over, this requirement that businesses provide sick leave will still leave large swaths of individuals who are working in the gig economy or are self employed out in the cold. A much better approach is to modify the existing system of unemployment benefits to allow for experience rating for both employer and employees, and to allow a portion of FICA to be credited toward paid sick leave that the Federal government would pay directly to qualified employees. The temporary rundown of social security benefits can be replenished at a later date after the current crisis has passed.
Bruce Williams (Chicago)
It is an illusion to think that benefits come from employers. Workers pay for their own benefits, one way or another and for the salaries and benefits all the way up in the organization. Sometimes these are calculated as a "cost" to the worker in benefit charges. My old organization varied between 22 and 24%. At a point somebody pressured the organization into calculating the actual benefits used and mine came to about 8.5%. The rest was forfeit. Unfortunately, taking refuge in government does not help-the truly central-planned states such as the Soviet Union and the Peoples' Republics have/had equeally creative ways of "special allocation."
Ashis Gupta (Calgary, Canada)
I am writing from Canada, after having lived many years in the US. I think it has always been a great country, even before your president used the phrase as a salesperson for hatred, fear and greed. From where we are, we wish the next US administration has people like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Pete Butigieg, Yang, and Amy Klobuchar at the helm. It can make for a humane team, not the bunch of grovelling sycophants currently enabling your president.
NMV (Arizona)
I am a nurse in Portland, Oregon. Most nurses do not have extensive PTO accrued to stay home and care for their children during the COVID-19 pandemic that has closed schools for an unknown period of time. Fortunately, my children are adults, but I work with nurses who are parents and are frantic trying to arrange (expensive) back-up childcare in order to go to work and serve the patients who need them. Hospital management and the public need to realize that nurses are the highest volume of employees in a hospital; their presence for patient care is vital anytime, but especially during a crisis. Nurses should have assistance financing childcare during this crisis, in order for them to go to work and maintain the nurse-to-patient ratios that contribute to patient safety.
rebecca1048 (Iowa)
@NMV I’ve always said the childcare worker holds all of the keys.
Max Deitenbeck (Shreveport)
I work at a liquor store attached to a grocery store. Two weeks ago a customer told me not to touch any of his items because he had the flu. He even bagged his purchase himself. Then he paid with cash. I came down with the flu 2 days later. Listen folks. Wash your hands with hot water and soap. The spread of a virus can be stopped if we just follow common sense. I am scared of this virus. I am a smoker (trying to quit again). So I am probably particularly vulnerable to the symptoms of the Corona virus.
S.Mitchell (Mich.)
Just thinking -if a cap on spending to elect candidates was in effect, then the billions spent for that would certainly exacerbate the cost of paid sick leave for a while. Just thinking.
CB (California)
If Costco has long offered employees sick leave as a standard benefit, why does it have a circle? Does this reflect part-time workers and contractors? I'll definitely avoid food-related businesses that don't provide paid sick leave for safety, and don't frequent fast food outlets for health reasons already. There are a lot of other businesses that don't provide sick leave that I'd skip if there are other alternatives, but would prefer to see a list that is accurate and comprehensive before boycotting businesses. Can you provide such or recommend where we can find such a listing?
Christine Juliard (CT)
Note at the bottom says it might include reports from people who actually had access to sick leave but were not aware of the fact.
CB (California)
Yes, I read the note, but hard for me to believe that workers at places such as Costco don't know whether or not they have sick leave. Costco is known as being a responsible employer.
Kim Tan (San Francisco)
The work-from-home policy that was at one point implemented failed. Because of a few bad apples, top executives resist, even though it's a way to keep everyone (employees and the general public) safe, to re-implement the policy. The currently prevailing reason is that employees would not work to their full capacity if they are allowed to work from home without the watchful eyes of their supervisors.
kirk (kentucky)
The editorial board,a group whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate , and certain longstanding values, hit the mark when they placed the blame on Speaker Pelosi for the inadequate protection of workers in the Saturday morning relief bill. They hit the mark because Speaker Pelosi is the only person of any power in our Government who will take any action to protect us or take responsibility for any of the actions failings. But I imagine you folks know that already, being the editorial board and all.
Des Johnson (Forest Hills NY)
@kirk Right. And note that Trump, Mnuchin et al think it's all about themselves. Pelosi, said Mnuchin, was available to us at all hours, day and night. These pimple-minds must realize that they exist to execute laws: no legislation, no need for the Executive Branch.
Paul Bonner (Huntsville, AL)
We have big corporations with significant cash reserves in an economy that is over dependent on consumer spending. Is it not obvious that paid leave keeps these consumers in the game to keep these big companies rich? We're all panicking because we know greed is a driver that cannot see the country as a whole. The markets need to calm down and find a way to help the entire country through this or they will lose a significant amount of their wealth as well.
Kevin Blankinship (Fort Worth, TX)
The simple trust is that Republicans don't believe in a public interest - just the private one. Their notion of a social structure one could best be termed a 'proprietorate.' Private property is the only right and it must be held sacrosanct, even over human life. The Republican line is that of 'individual responsibility' and 'survival of the fittest.' Pandemics are labeled an 'act of God,' with the response being laissez-faire. This is why, despite Trump, that Republicans in Congress were so adamantly opposed to the coronavirus bill.
Cowboy Marine (Colorado Trails)
Other than healthcare workers. the workers who are both most at risk themselves, and who present the most risk to others, are the people who have the worst or zero benefits for sick leave, vacation, etc. in our economy. That's probably half or more of Americans.
StuAtl (Georgia)
This editorial only addresses large corporations. While McDonald's and Walmart can afford to spread out benefits over their thousands of workers, small local businesses have tighter margins and little wiggle room. As we appear headed for a recession, those businesses will be squeezed on both ends trying to support their employees while less revenue is coming in. If you have 20 employees and five go on sick leave, the other 15 will work longer hours and pile up OT that has to be accounted for. That means the price of everything will go up, reducing buying power for everyone. So while we can agree paid leave should be available to all workers, let's not kid ourselves to thinking there won't be a price to pay.
Eric Saltzman (NYC)
Thanks for the terrific job your news and editorial staff are doing. I know you all must be slammed with work. Any capacity at NYT to do this: I would love to see another version of this graphic that showed, side-by-side, the direct competitors of the companies shown who ARE stepping up and paying their employees who miss work. Then, consumers could easily make the decision to spend their dollars and ongoing loyalty with them.
Heather Nolen (Forest, VA)
I would like to give it to the kind, likely young person, who is working without paid sick leave at my neighborhood Kroger when I pick up my groceries on Tuesday. I will ask him/her to give it to the manager along with a personal letter from me. How do I print this? The option does not seem enabled and I cannot cut and paste.
Stratman (MD)
@Heather Nolen Do you seriously think the Kroger manager can change his company's sick leave policy?
Kelly (New York)
But wait, the leadership of Walmart received Presidential accolades as they announced that the government could use their parking lots, perhaps while it drops off the funds to underwrite the sick leave for their 347,000 employees. End Corporate Welfare!
It'a not just the cost of paid sick leave, it's the worry that once the dam breaks, companies will be expected to pay for comprehensive healthcare and a living wage, too! This is Paul Ryan's ultimate nightmare.
Des Johnson (Forest Hills NY)
@JR Maybe it's time to turn a horde of rampaging Vikings loose on the White House.
Nathan (Atlanta)
If you get sick and can not live off of your cash reserves for two weeks....then it is your fault you were stupid with your money. I am a chick fil a part time worker for only $11 an hour. And a full time college student. If I got sick I could probably last several months because I am very cautious with my money-even though I’ve been working for less than a year. Stop talking about paid sick leave. If you can not afford your current lifestyle- then something need to change.
Tara (MI)
@Nathan Thanks, Ayn. Say hello to Mr. Rand and your publishers. Oh wait...
Samazama (SF)
@Nathan As a college student I'm going to guess you're pretty young and just recently came off your parents' dime. Call us back after you've paid a mortgage, your and your children's health care premiums and deductibles, your property taxes, all your utilities, food for a family etc for a few years. Then let's look at those deep cash reserves.
Frances P (Hudson, OH)
@Nathan - I’m glad you’re so perfect. Do you have dependents? Live at home with mom and dad? Some people have difficult circumstances through no fault of their own. If you are a good employee and work hard, employers should plan to help their hourly workers in these soon to be tough times. The federal government/state governments should step in and assist as well. Bureaus of Workmen’s Compensation and unemployment insurance need to be utilized to help employees.
Jack (Montana)
Companies and corporations are closing not to retard the spread of coronovirus but to offset a downturn in business by not having to pay workers. If you're not selling your products you still have to pay employees. But if you close and send the employees home, you can save all that money going to wages. A great country we have here!
Truth2013 (AZ)
When the election comes around, remember who supports a rational sick leave policy, Democrats, and who doesn't! Vote blue no matter who!
Eric (Thomas)
How ridiculous that we eat in restaurants that doesn’t have paid sick leave? Employees show up ill because they can’t afford to miss work and infect their customers, so gross and dangerous to public health. Shame on these businesses and local governments.
Des Johnson (Forest Hills NY)
@Eric Wait a minute! Shame on local government? Government that has been demolished by those who frequent restaurants?
Barry Short (Upper Saddle River, NJ)
Trump's supporters seem to think that he's one of them (doesn't everyone live in a tower on Fifth Avenue?). This would have been ideal time for him to prove it by supporting mandatory paid sick time for all on a permanent basis. Think of the campaign commercials he could have gotten out of it.
Dann Mann (USA)
My city, which is in the rust belt, has shut down the public schools. The question is - what are working parents going to do if they can't go to work because they have no babysitter? What are businesses going to do without their workers? Obama spent close to a trillion dollars of taxpayer money to bail out the banks and big business. Will this administration bail out small businesses and workers? I should be shot just for asking!
Cowboy Marine (Colorado Trails)
@Dann Mann Don't forget that the GOP's historic, especially since Reagan, and Bush 43's, specific cutting of protective regulations in the financial and mortgage industries, made the bailouts necessary, not to mention their incompetence...and not a single one of those folks went to jail, and I doubt had to cut-back on their yachts or country club memberships. Did we mention the trillions of today's deficit resulting from Bush 43's/Cheney's Iraq War fiasco based on lies and incompetence, just added to by Trump's and the GOP's recent huge tax gift that went primarily to the 1%?
CMB (West Des Moines, IA)
We also need to change corporate cultures that discourage employees, even managers and executives, from taking the sick leave they have.
T (Ad astra)
I’d rather see companies die or get financially sickened than people. I know that the issue is more complicated than that, but that is the essence of what we are looking at: Greed helping is spreading serious disease. It’s practically Biblical.
Alba (Miami FL)
I'm glad to see that someone is finally speaking about this. It should be a federal law to require all companies to offer paid sick leave. Must companies now only offer PTO usually 15 PTO days to be used for either personal, vacation or sick days. Which is then prorated if you did not start working with the company on the first day of the year. So someone starting in June has less than 15 days PTO. This is inadequate as most employees do not want to use their PTO for sick days and instead use it for much needed vacation time. PTO and sick days should be separate. Just as there are federal minimum wage laws there should be federal minimum 7 sick days required of all employers. And finally, to all those saying they won't patronize the companies not offering sick leave check your own company's policy. If you're willing to have people being laid off because of lack of business then you should be willing to quit your own job for lack of sick days benefits. If you're going to protest, protest all the way. Go big or go home. Thank you
D (NJ)
I feel like if you’re a business owner you ought to assume responsibility for your workers in extraordinary situations such as this.
DKM (NE Ohio)
Lol, this country - Government and, by and large, the voting public - has allowed, even championed putting profits ahead of the Public. It is the "American Way". Profit is our God. But today, a threat to the public health is catching notice, is making folks think twice. Or is it just that the impending doom, if you will, cares not for one's class, social status, bank balance, or family name? We can use this threat to look at our country and make some significant, very necessary, changes, or we can hunker it out, cry out to whomever, and when it passes, go about life again, business - and Profits - as usual...until the next time when we all get penitent again.
No name (earth)
the worst aspects of capitalism afflict workers at the bottom of the wage scale.
CS (Midwest)
This whole "but a burger would cost $20" is speculative nonsense. A 2015 study by Purdue University showed that increasing the federal minimum wage to $15/hour at places such as McDonald's would increase prices by just 4.3 percent. That's 4.3 percent because of a 100 percent increase in the federal minimum wage. Giving each employee the equivalent of two weeks paid sick leave, or 3.8 percent of a 52-week work year, would likely register barely a blip in the cost of your latte or precious Big Mac. Isn't that worth not having Covid-19 with your foam or fries?
R In The West (WA)
Seattle’s minimum wage is $20 and burgers don’t cost $20.
R In The West (WA)
Sorry I meant to type minimum wage is $15
Jonathan Jaffe (MidSouth USA)
change the perception FROM: what affects the individual (staying away while sick) TO: PROTECTING everyone else (when a sick one stays away) for companies resistant to paid sick leave, consider the possibilities that could infect your workforce and your equipment. It is not by accident that something expanding explosively on the internet is called "going viral". Paying a few people to stay away is CHEAP compared to having to stop production due to an ill workforce and a contaminated facility that needs professional sterilization. Be smart, not stuck in a paradigm that has become downright dangerous to the survival of your business.
rebecca1048 (Iowa)
It’s risky business to have any sick employee handling our food or exchanging our dollars. But you ought to be the low-paid or just grandmother-in-volunteer providing childcare and get sick. No, business makes accommodations for parents when the childcare worker is sick. Not only should there be paid sick days for employees, there should parent leave days for sick childcare providers. Just call me the supporting actress!
Rea Tarr (Malone, NY)
Wouldn't it be more logical, and safer for everyone, to fire those employees who don't follow your company's food safety program procedures, rather than reward those who do, Chipotle? Have you guys ever heard of a job description?
I am very sorry for Trump and Sanders Supporters , your idea of revolution is hijacked by Coronavirus pandemic and post pandemic revolution. Things will be starkly change during next 6-9 months period. Any big company right now tinkering on the back ground of their main discussion room, we should accelerate AI backed Robotics to replace human workers. That timeline realization of change become earlier. Also reaching 9 billion people and ultra extensive work and business around urbanization ( which you cannot fall back subsistence life style of village) Governments no choice but implement Mr. Andrew Yang's proposal to give every body 1000 $. If thsi looks for you irrational, and very socialist's or even ridiculous, read the news again and again. Revolution is already underway and going on, I am really Sorry for Trump and Sanders, when it comes to populism , apparently a tiny virus do better than mighty human.
Just 4 Play (Fort Lauderdale)
Its not about profits my friends and to suggest it is shows a total lack of understanding of small business. So how long can medium to small companies pay for sick leave during a crisis like this and survive? Most companies perhaps 30-60 days? For example I own a family resturant. Our reservations are down 70%. If I pay for sick leave or time off how do I survive? Do I shut down and have everyone lose their jobs? Large corporations will survive but most small companies will not make it. Lastly it is not the companies that will pay for the paid sick leave it is the counsumer. Are you willing to pay $12 for a Big Mac meal?
rebecca1048 (Iowa)
@Just 4 Play Given Trump’s declaration of “state of emergency”, sick leave should probably be picked up by all of us from an emergency fund. They seem to have money to keep rebuilding the ridiculous hurricane coasts.
Cowboy Marine (Colorado Trails)
@Just 4 Play As Republicans and "conservatives" say (especially the GOP politicians who live off the taxpayers)...good Americans like you just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and forge ahead prayerfully no matter what challenges God may present us. Just think of the couple of million the taxpayers saved by eliminating the pandemic experts on the National Security Council...just a bunch of elitist Ph.D.s who think they're smart and know more about this science-stuff than the politicians and Fox News. But aside from my rant, realistically, you and most restaurant owners are going to have a tough time surviving this. Unless you are highly capitalized, I think you have to let your employees go, wait things out, see what happens, and hope that the federal or state government come-up with a plan to at least partially compensate your employees until things settle down. Better to at least try to save the existence of your business for when things get back to normal, whenever that may be. Hopefully with 6 months.
Nomi Silverman (CT)
I can only hope that one positive outcome of this whole horrible mess, this crises we have here, is that paid sick leave becomes mandatory. That the politicians see what no paid sick leave does to the country, and perhaps in a more self centered way, what it does to businesses and therefore their pocketbook. However I am not optimistic. Pelosi fell down on the job here. She had a chance to push this through and still we exempted large companies and small ones can file for exemptions. Doesn’t leave too many people there. My anger knows no bounds. We are letting our countrymen (and women!) down. We are actually going where the Republican Party seems to want to take us-back to the “golden age” which was golden for the very top. Not for the public at large.
ARL (Texas)
@Nomi Silverman It does not look likely. Even now the Republicans blocked it from being at least for now mandatory and the weak Democrats having the majority, rolled over for no other reason but getting a bipartisan bill. Just as they did with Obama care, they watered it down to make it appealing to the Republicans and still got no bipartisan bill and learned nothing either. Biden will continue in that manner, the Republicans will be in charge regardless of who wins the election.
kirk (montana)
@Nomi Silverman No. There is something you can do besides 'hope'. Vote, March. Vote. Educate yourself and others. Vote. Take a friend to the polls. Vote. These heartless, greedy republicans need to be removed from office. Vote. Vote. Vote.
mjpezzi (orlando)
@Nomi Silverman --- Small businesses and workers can't benefit from "tax credits" and a "waiver of student loan interest" when they are not making any money! For a healthy workforce and acceptable quality of life, the USA deserves federal-mandated paid sick days, paid vacation days, and paid family leaves as the cost of doing business. We MUST move to a national healthcare network that takes care of the health needs of EVERYONE, negotiates prices and prevents profiteering -- instead of relying on a profiteering insurance and bigPharma industry that negotiates limited financial liability and higher costs. #M4A WE ARE NOT PREPARED FOR THIS PANDEMIC!
Doug Mattingly (Los Angeles)
I work as a teacher at a performing arts college in Los Angeles that does not employ ANY full time instructors, mostly so they don’t have to provide much in the way of benefits. As for health insurance, the cheapest HMO plan they offer costs over $700 per month, for one person. What part time employee can afford that? They recently implemented a 2 sick day policy. When I tried to use it when I got the seasonal flu, they docked my wages. I had to fight them to get that day’s (hourly) pay back. As for this coronavirus crisis, we’re taking an impromptu “spring break” this coming week, but are only being paid for our contracted teaching hours and not for the additional hours many of us have to clock in for each week. For me, that’s half my hours. The following week we’ll be moving to online courses for the foreseeable future. And even though that money for the clocked hours is there in the school’s budget, they don’t plan on paying us. Maybe they expect us to get a handout from the government.
Ernest Zarate (Sacramento CA)
The decline of unions in this country has resulted in a decline of workers having a safe, reliable, and coherent safety net they can use when things go south, like now. Government and especially business lobbying groups have for decades pushed back these safety nets, including paid sick leave, citing the "expense" to the business owners. The ones who end up paying the real costs then are the workers themselves. It is a totally unacceptable and unnecessary situation that benefits only the business owner. For the small business owner, the mom and pop store owner, the government needs to step up to the plate and provide support for paid sick leave to the owner and the worker. For the large scale employer, they need to cut back on their profit margin and provide paid sick leave to those whose work makes those profits possible.
Maggie (Seattle)
The most egregious example of profit over people comes from Whole Foods/Amazon. This week a CEO worth $75million, who reports to Jeff Bezos worth $115billion, asked employees to share their sick time so infected employees won't hit their bottom line. Bezos and Amazon have a long and well documented history of employee abuse at their fulfillment centers with employees being maimed and even killed trying to keep up with the brutal pace. Bezos has inflicted this same management style to Whole Foods but the direct contact with the public means they are not only putting employees at risk but every customer that comes in the door. At times of crisis, some rise to the occasion but Bezos just sees this as another opportunity to serve his bottom line.
First read this news report. Then read this too, Couple of issues emerging. We have a historical lesson of that 1929 economic depression. Like those days, soup lines and mass migration to California. Today will create it is own way of dealing with this. Irony is a republican government who use firepower over its citizen made grave mistakes, Today Republican Government I hope shouldn't make same mistakes. This is whole scale effort of rescuing large economy and fighting against a disease. Many big cities will live brunt of the trauma, health and economics. So We need FDR type figure and closest one is Joseph Biden , Biden is no FDR in many ways but our best option from the three. Because Corona virus epidemic simply annulated the ideology of Sanders and we are already watching Trumps. No body made revolution in the middle of catastrophe, however this pandemic makes its revolution. We have now ability to make robotics and AI work instead of human, they are impervious to this type of virus. No matter that trend will explode post pandemic for preparation to next one because there will be next one ( since 2000 this was the 4th one) Did you remember the democratic candidate Andrew Yang, that is todays reality. You cannot leave small business and hourly workers out in the cold next 6 months.
rebecca1048 (Iowa)
@SU My conscience will not allow me to vote for a candidate who refuses to support a Medicare for All system.
William Starr (Nashua NH)
@rebecca1048 "My conscience will not allow me to vote for a candidate who refuses to support a Medicare for All system." With due respect to your conscience, this election is a special case. We've all got to Vote Blue, No Matter Who.
bl (rochester)
@rebecca1048 I think your conscience needs to be asked the more basic question whether it would be perfectly fine with four more years of what it has been forced to witness since January 2017. How do you know your conscience is as self righteous as you claim it to be?
Daniel Korb (Switzerland)
No sick leave us sick as it forces sick people to work. It is a matter if what we pur first people or profit.
MIMA (heartsny)
Interesting. Walmart was one of the first Representatives at Trump’s press conference the other day to give his 2cents about the coronavirus plans. So concerned.....except for their employees. Such phony baloney. Big fakes. Just like Trump.
Observer (Canada)
Blame the founding fathers, the Constitution, the Amendments, the Electoral college, the Congress, the White House, the Courts, the Governors, and the Mayors for the suffering of the People. It's the System's fault. Why not? It is fashionable to blame everything else.
tombo (new york state)
"The only adequate remedy is to permanently require paid sick leave for all workers." For that to happen the conservatives will have to be removed from power, period. In the area of paid sick time/leave they and their policies are, as in all other things, damaging this country. Their complete and slavish devotion to the clearly incompetent, unqualified, mentally and emotionally stunted Trump proves to anyone willing to see that they are not going to change their ways, the facts, the consequences and the nation be damned. They need to go. There is nothing unseemly or improper of bluntly calling attention to their failures in this pandemic or anything else if that helps to remove them for office.
rebecca1048 (Iowa)
For the many who don’t understand, volunteer to provide childcare for your grandchildren and just try to call in sick. I keep telling my kids, they need to start standing up to their companies, because I won’t live forever. (Although, I’d like to make it to 100 or 120.)
phil loubere (Murfreesboro TN)
When you look at that list it would be extremely difficult to avoid shopping at all of them. Every major grocery store is listed. This is why there needs to be federal policy on this issue.
Kathryn (Seattle, WA)
I’m so proud of Starbucks right now. Comprehensive benefits, including paid sick leave and vacation and now catastrophe pay, to all employees.
Henry Abrons, MD, MPH (Berkeley, CA)
It's true that "Companies that do not pay sick workers to stay home are endangering their workers, their customers and the health of the broader public." It behoves the editors to address lack of access to health care in a similar vein. Effective public health measures require both paid sick leave and access to health care. Wendell Potter, President of Medicare for All NOW!, made this compelling point: "The virus is a reminder that our world is deeply interconnected, and that’s exactly why our healthcare system should serve everyone."
VKG (Upstate NY)
The pandemic is revealing all the gaps and shortcomings in our institutions. It SHOULD be a wake-up call to improve assistance to the American people. That remains to be seen. We see what is happening in Italy, and soon in Spain. We will be next unless our alleged leaders heed the warnings of the scientists and act accordingly.
Chris (NYC)
The vast majority of independent restaurants would go out of business within a few weeks or less if they were forced to offer paid sick leave. Paid sick leave policy and compensation has to come from the federal government. Time and again in modern day capitalism we are forced to rely solely on the capricious benevolence of corporations to survive crises in lieu of a robust social safety net. This is an example where not only the absurdity of the situation is highlighted, but also, in this case, the impossibility.
Barry Short (Upper Saddle River, NJ)
@Chris. Paid sick leave could also come from state governments. But, either way, businesses (and employers) would need to pay for it through higher taxes. The money doesn't magically appear. But, I take issue with the idea that small businesses just can't afford paid sick time. Allowing five days paid sick leave out of a 250 day work year raises costs by just 2%. An increase in the minimum wage is more than that and most restaurants and small businesses still manage to survive, despite their griping.
David Karnes (Los Angeles)
I don’t get it. The Fed will pump 1.5 trillion into the banking system, we’ll spend tens of billions on emergency measures, and Trump is readying plans for massive bailouts of leisure/travel industries and other huge stimulus measures for businesses. But we can’t agree to cover paid sick leave during this crisis? We’ll shut down much of the economy, risk a global recession and preach social distancing, but not take a simple, modest measure to help ensure that for the duration of this crisis, sick people don’t feel compelled to go to work in order to pay their bills? And during this emergency, I would extend this benefit to all workers, on top of any paid leave their employer already provides. Otherwise, people will do what they already often do, and come to work sick so as not to use up their limited amount of leave (especially this early in the calendar year). And many companies now provide a combined “paid time off” (PTO) of paid sick leave and vacation, which further disincentivizes people to use up days, even when they are very sick. What am I missing here? There will be a lot of tough decisions, but there should also be some “no-brainers,” including universal testing, treatment and sick leave if we are serious about mitigating this pandemic.
William Starr (Nashua NH)
@David Karnes "I don’t get it. The Fed will pump 1.5 trillion into the banking system, we’ll spend tens of billions on emergency measures, and Trump is readying plans for massive bailouts of leisure/travel industries and other huge stimulus measures for businesses. But we can’t agree to cover paid sick leave during this crisis?" It's simple: little people don't count.
David Karnes (Los Angeles)
@William Starr ...yes, but so short-sighted, because little people (with no health insurance or sick leave) are the least able to take the steps needed to avoid spreading it. And let’s not call it “sick leave” because most of the people who contract the virus will be asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms that don’t incapacitate them. But if they have jobs that can’t be done remotely (e.g., retail, construction, cleaning homes and offices), and we expect them to isolate if infected (and want them to volunteer for testing that could result in that isolation), we must give them proper incentives and support, one of which is paid “separation leave” for those who require it.
DSD (St. Louis)
It only took Trump and the Republicans 3 years to completely destroy the economy. But then the economy always fails with Republicans in charge.
Kingfish52 (Rocky Mountains)
This is what happens when you kill unions, and minimize government's role as a counterweight to unchecked capitalism. This is the formula used for Reaganomics that has held sway for 40 years, supported by both parties because that's what their wealthy donors want. This crisis has brought into clear focus the choice Americans have: Keep voting for the Status Quo - Trump or Biden - or vote to change things - Sanders. Before you choose, ask yourself this: How different would things be right now if we already had MFA, free childcare, free tuition, and healthy unions and collective bargaining? There is only one candidate who supports all of that. Choose wisely. Maybe you think voting for Bernie Sanders is too big of a risk, but then consider how at risk you and millions of other Americans with expensive or no health insurance, no one to watch their kids while they have to go to work now that schools are closing, no way to repay their student loans, no way to pay their rent or mortgage or car loans. Is Bernie Sanders a bigger risk than all that?
strenholme (San Diego, CA)
@Kingfish52 Let’s be very frank here. Sanders is not going to win the nomination. It’s going to be, on November 3, a choice between Biden and Trump. Between Biden and Trump, which one is more likely to pass progressive legislation like a federal law mandating paid sick leave? Between Biden and Trump, which one supports Warren’s Bankruptcy plan? We are not in a world where things are black and white. There are shades of gray, and voting is sometimes voting for less lesser of two evils.
Kingfish52 (Rocky Mountains)
@strenholme You may well be right, but understand what your choices get you. Biden SAYS he now supports Warren's bankruptcy plan but he was a fierce opponent, and he still owes the donors who backed him then and now. He still supports a for-profit heathcare system - how's that working out now? And has fought for Wall St. over Main St. every step of the way. Sure, Trump is an existential threat, but the meme that Biden is the best one to beat him is simply a lie told by the MSM because they don't want Sanders. As of this writing Americans still have a choice. I'm not naive enough to believe they'll choose in their best interests - after all they re-elected GWB after it was proven he lied about WMDs and so many other things. But if you don't even try to change, then you're going to be stuck with the "same ol', same ol'". Based on the voting so far, a lot of people are fed up with that.
William Starr (Nashua NH)
@strenholme "Between Biden and Trump, which one is more likely to pass progressive legislation like a federal law mandating paid sick leave? Between Biden and Trump, which one supports Warren’s Bankruptcy plan?" And of course, between Biden and Trump, which one isn't Trump?
Arianne (Vermont)
Our small business does provide sick days, and has a culture that encourages employees to stay home when sick. Being told to quarantine or choosing to quarantine when not sick, however, is a problem that is not being discussed enough. How do we pay for that? By using vacation pay? But our business has declined 90% due to the correct recommendation that everyone practice social distancing and stay home. So no sales. Without income from sales, we will soon have no income for payroll. Our business will go through our savings quickly trying to pay staff, but if we are having weeks/months of no shopping, eating out, events, this will be a catastrophe for small businesses. When the economy tanks because of *that*, it will also be catastrophe for nonprofits and social services that rely on donations from people who have now either lost their jobs or lost to the stock market. This is a disaster on SO many levels.
Diana (USA)
"'If you are sick, stay home,' Vice President Mike Pence said at a news conference on Saturday afternoon. 'You’re not going to miss a pay check.'” "But that’s simply not true. Sick workers should stay home, but there is no guarantee in the emergency legislation that most of them will get paid." The above was from yesterday's op-ed by the Editorial Board. Right now, I imagine that most Americans are wondering whom they can trust for accurate information and honest updates. It certainly is not the federal government. Thankfully, most of our governors are being honest and forward-looking -- and doing the best they can to mitigate the unnecessary confusion and misinformation coming from the administration. It is now dangerous, however, when policies emanate from the WH that are not thought through, like the recent travel ban from European countries. The overnight breakdowns at our airports resulted from exceedingly poor planning and put thousands at risk, who will in turn go into their own communities and potentially spread the disease even further. We need federal health officials to stop toeing the line with Trump. Now, more than ever, we need honesty from this White House. Unfortunately, I don't see either of those things happening, so we will have to rely on local and state officials. For those of us who have good leadership at the state level, we'll be okay; for those of us without such leadership, I worry and pray for you.
Citizen A (NY)
Apologies if you have seen this comment elsewhere. I am trying to catch the attention of NYTimes. I urge the NYTimes journalists to report on ways, in which private citizens could help fight the coronavirus pandemic. Where to donate? How to support medical workers? Patients? Quarantined individuals? People financial or in other ways impacted? Let’s help each other.
William O. Beeman (San José, CA)
Consumers should be boycotting these companies unless they voluntarily agree to paid sick leave for people suffering from Covid-19 and their families. Trump makes a big deal of supporting ordinary citizens from the 99% but it is easy to see from this report that it was another lie, and another campaign stunt. The largest employers from the plutocrat 1% wouldn't stand for helping stem the disease vector. It would cut into their multi-million-dollar CEO salaries, so they exempted themselves. As usual this is another Trump public cheat. I'm sure the MAGA-head rubes have not noticed, since they are getting their Trump propaganda from Fox and Rush.
Tom Clark (Albuquerque)
How much of the blame should be on American consumers who want everything fast and CHEAP?
William Starr (Nashua NH)
@Tom Clark "How much of the blame should be on American consumers who want everything fast and CHEAP?" Let's not forget though that a lot of American consumers live their lives constantly facing the question "Do I want to do the morally right thing, or do I want to have money left at the end of the month?"
Rip (La Pointe)
Once again, it appears to take a national emergency of historic proportions to call attention to the exploitation of workers in global and national capitalist market economies. The Covid-19 bandaid measure on sick leave pay just passed in the House will do nothing to prevent a return to business as usual profiteering once this crisis has passed. Any renewed efforts to change this situation will be decried in the US as “socialism!” including by some of the very populations who would benefit greatly from it. Neither Bernie Sanders nor Elizabeth Warren would find this situation acceptable—what about Biden? Someone should ask him this question tonight.
Judith (Port Angeles, WA, USA)
You're missing the thousands of highly skilled people forced to work through "staffing agencies," many with "HQs" in Parsippany, NJ, but really in India. I worked as a tech editor for IBM through them for 10 years, and during that time what was 2 or 3 jobs, with different skillsets, were combined, so we were expected to do all three phases of the work in the same amount of time -- and later in 1/3 the time. After 7 years, I threatened to quit, because what was left after the agency took 37% of every dollar I earned left me with clerical-level income, so I never could afford to take a day off. I couldn't continue that way. I got 6 days of paid sick leave as a result of being willing to risk it all.
Albert D'Alligator (Lake Alice)
Everyone should: 1. Take the list from the article 2. Find the contact email for the CEO 3. Send the CEO an email stating you will not spend another penny at their businesses until they provide paid sick leave for all employees. Add that you will advise family, friends, coworkers, and slow moving strangers on the street to do the same 4. Repeat for all companies on the list Let them know it will cost them more to NOT provide paid sick leave than it will to provide it. THEN they will listen.
Concernicus (Hopeless, America)
We do need a national policy on paid sick leave just as we have one on minimum wage. But it goes beyond that. People need to stay home when ill. We all know people that have been brainwashed into believing that you must work until you drop or are simply afraid that the boss will be irate if you use sick leave that you are entitled to. Just take a look at how many weeks of guaranteed vacation time go unused every year. That money is not given to workers. It is funneled to executives in the form of bonuses.
Sharon (Oregon)
@Concernicus The reality is in many jobs, you are penalized for being sick, especially if its something that takes awhile to get over. My daughter in music school had to go to orchestra even when she was running a fever or it would lower her grade substantially. "They" don't mind a day or two, but beyond that a person is often in serious trouble with the boss. It's especially bad when you are new to the job. When you're in a new location or in a new job where you're exposed to a lot of people, you get sick a lot the first year.
Alx (iowa city)
@Concernicus I think this article is focused more on who CANT afford to stay home, not those who don't use theirs.
ARL (Texas)
@Concernicus Our government tends to do just enough to make people believe they govern, the minimum wage has become useless, they will continue to go after health care and Social Security, these are limitless opportunities to make big profits. The Democrats should start investigating immediately why testing for the coronavirus was delayed for weeks when functioning test kits were available. But they will be afraid to offend the Republicans and Trump will loose all his marbles.
Rich (Novato CA)
It's not really about the companies: our political system produces this result. Look at the GOP's refusal to cover sick leave in as in the original House bill. Until we tax the rich adequately to provide the type of social safety net available in most other developed countries, we will have low-wage workers in precarious jobs with no benefits, no sick leave, and all just one disaster away from homelessness. "Conservatives" (reactionaries, really) call avoiding this outcome "giving freebies" to people, as if the Trump-GOP tax cuts were somehow well-deserved. And we have this because the GOP has disproportionate political power. Demographic changes may ultimate overcome this structural deficiency, if we survive Trump, the current GOP, and COVID-19.
Steve (So. Bucks U.K.)
It’s truly sad that the biggest country in the world doesn’t afford all citizens basic protections like paid time off work. Here in the U.K. and across Europe the protection may vary, but it is an ingrained human right. Whether one gets full salary or a reduced one after a certain period is immaterial — all have some protection. Even mortgage and certain other payments can be put on a “payment holiday” whilst on extended sickness. Doubtful your president would support it, he seems from afar to only like rich people. Sad.
AB (Twin Cities)
It is clear that the Republican and Democrat establishment is not going to come to our aid. Being that the government (and elections) are owned by oligarchs/corporations. The only real power that workers have is to organize mass boycotts of these companies and shut them down.
Nancy G. (New York)
My thoughts exactly. The only establishment I frequent is Dunkin’ Donuts. There are other coffee establishments out there, so that’s where I will go.
Mike F. (NJ)
The NYT Editorial Board once again misses the mark, mostly. I agree with them entirely that all companies should, by law. provide a certain amount of paid sick leave to all employees, just as they must contribute to social security, workers comp, unemployment insurance, etc. Corporate greed has endangered us far more than in just this one regard. Many of our critical commodities and raw materials are produced only in China, a country that can hardly be called our friend. This includes many critical pharmaceuticals and medical equipment such as protective masks. I believe strongly in capitalism, but Corporate America's greed is endangering us. Trump, is falling way short of the mark in handling the latest covid-19 disaster by reducing CDC funding, eliminating the US agency that prepares for health crises, etc. I will give him high marks for his push to bring jobs back to the US and manufacture critical commodities solely in the US. Global supply chains reduce cost, but they markedly increase risk to our nation. Another thing... According to the Wall Street Journal, "JPMorgan Chase & Co. paid its chief executive, James Dimon, $31.5 million for his work in 2019." I have nothing against Jamie Dimon and his fellow Fortune 500 CEO's, but this is absurd. Nobody is worth that kind of money. How about taxing some of that money more than it already is and using it to fund, for example, government labs which develop and produce vaccines to address looming threats of potential pandemics?
Barry Short (Upper Saddle River, NJ)
@Mike F. " I will give him high marks for his push to bring jobs back to the US and manufacture critical commodities solely in the US." Pushing is one thing, but effectiveness is another. There's no proof of that his "pushing," which mainly consists of loud speechmaking, is actually working. If Trump was actually serious, he'd propose a comprehensive industrial policy for the US that addressed issues such as the shortage of skilled labor.
John B (St. Paul, MN)
The coronovirus has raised the issue of anti-socialism among the GOP. How can the signature trademark of the 2020 GOP sloganeering be dismissed and ineffective? Trump and company will need to retool if they expect that bashing 'health care for all' and 'paid sick leave' won't be interpreted as anti-worker. This is a grand opportunity for American workers to join the rest of the world in obtaining benefits that fellow colleagues in every other first world country enjoy. Every worker and every union leader must be negotiating for these benefits.
Glen Park (USA)
@John B Agreed, but while we're on this subject, what about anti-socialism in the Democratic Party? Not asking for socialism, in fact I'm pro-capitalism, but not the ruthless monopoly capitalism that we actually have. I am just asking for very basic protections for working people. The kind of protections that this great country once had, and which have been destroyed by four decades of deregulation and the gutting of unions.
Chuck (Portland oregon)
The simple solution is to enact a nation wide Value Added Tax of all commercial business type transactions and use the proceeds to distribute $1,000.00 a month to each adult individual to use as they see fit. This is an idea Milton Friedman put forth way back in the 1970s?, but more recently heralded by presidential candidate Andrew Yang. A $1,000.00 a month will relieve a lot of financial heartache and stress of thousands of people who might in a pinch end up being evicted and made homeless. But, while a monthly stipend might relieve pressure to enact a paid sick leave policy, there would still be a need for a national law against firing employees or even contract workers who don't show up to work on grounds of illness.
James (Memphis)
You either are ignorant of the fact that a majority of the restaurants are franchisees or don't care. And that they're profit margins are not very high, which means to cover such costs world mean the possibility of three things as world hiking minimum wage to $15/he. Higher cost to the consumer, less employees or a combination of the first two, which is the most likely to occur. The same with providing such pay. A majority of those working in the restaurant business stay only months on average. And that is being kind to the statistics to say that. I was in restaurant manager for a couple of the chains. One afternoon to offer sick pay and medical insurance, once with the company for 90 days. Few made it that long. And of those that did, few lasted another couple of months. The cost to enroll a small portion of employees on insurance just to have them leave, often to go to another restaurant chain, was very high. After several years, they discontinued insurance for new employees.
Barry Short (Upper Saddle River, NJ)
@James. There's a simple solution to that: national healthcare. One's insurance should not be tied to one's job. Sick time, on the other hand, isn't that much of an expense. Allowing five days a year (250 work days/year) would add just 2% to costs.
Nancy G. (New York)
This is precisely why healthcare coverage shouldn’t be employment based.
Socialism for the corporations and WallStreet, cruel and harsh capitalism for the workers and poor.
Red Mumbler (Hillsdale, NY)
Profits ahead of ALL else. Employees, the environment, health, the country...EVERYTHING! Capitalism at its finest. Trump approved.
ss (los gatos)
Sigh. I've been limiting my visits to Home Depot since I learned that its CEO was a Trump supporter in the last election. Seemed to me that he showed bad business judgement, at the very least. Now I find out that Home Depot has a rational sick-leave policy. So what do I do? For the record, Lowe's came out with an arbitration requirement that they forced managers to sign, so I cut back on my visits there, too. Please, no bad news about Ace Hardware!
magenta (mass.)
@ss Sorry. Ace is on the graphic, lower right. We must demand changes to support our fellow citizens.
sharon (worcester county, ma)
Massachusetts recently legislated 12 weeks of paid leave that will begin in January 2021. My husband's payroll contribution went up 1/2%. No one even notices the difference in pay since this is only one penny on every two dollars earned. But when this policy payroll tax was implemented many screamed and wailed that they couldn't afford this onerous tax!!! I wish Americans could learn how to do math. If one earns $1000/per week they are paying an additional $5/week in taxes. Oh, the horrors and financial ruin we all will face if we're forced to go without an extra .5% of our pay to guarantee if sick, needing to care for an elderly parent, a child or even ourselves we can stay home from work without fear of bankruptcy. And my husband won't even benefit at all since he will be retired before this policy kicks in and I don't work. But we have learned to live without the extra $8/week he is losing in his pay. It's a struggle, though, lol ;-)
SLB (vt)
It's not just companies. Teaching staff at schools often do not have health coverage like teachers. Nannies. Childcare workers. Eldercare workers. These entities often can not afford health insurance. Universal coverage would mean that these folks would not be out working and infecting even those who are insured. Private health insurance does not protect you from contracting viruses from those without health insurance. Surprise, surprise.
Stefano (USA)
@SLB ... and what about the legions of house cleaners who work under the radar and must choose between showing up or not making rent?
Mark (New York)
@SLB Agreed we need more of the above, but it's not as if M4A would prevent the coronovirus' spread.
Jen (Seattle, WA)
@Stefano My house cleaners have paid sick leave and health insurance, and have for a long time. It's the main reason I use the company. It's more expensive, and my house is cleaned less often, but it's worth it to know that people providing a service to me are being treated well. The more people are willing to pay for that kind of setup, and refuse to hire companies that don't provide benefits, the more this will become the norm.
Kinney (Buffalo)
Some of us work in the beauty and service industry; we, too, do not get paid sick leave. Massage therapists, hair stylists, nail techs, facialists ---we all work closely with others' bodies. I have children at home and I'm wondering if I should stay away from the salon (where I work) as well in the coming weeks. But I will not get paid. This is a dreadful thing to contemplate.
Suzanne (Colorado)
@Kinney Your comment, and others I have seen the last few days, point out two different perspectives on sick leave. As a business owner with no employees, I didn't pay myself sick leave - if I got sick I just took it out of my net profit. Usually I would have to work harder later on to make up what I missed, but that is part of being a boss. Many in the gig economy are in this situation and could set aside something each time they got paid as a rainy day fund. Unfortunately, we generally don't pay workers well enough to allow them that luxury. When I hired employees they were given paid time off even though they were paid relatively well. We did this because of human nature (most of us are better at spending than saving) and because it is what people are used to. It is reasonable to expect self-employed people to set up a fund for their own sick leave. It is also reasonable to expect us to structure our society so we pay a living wage to workers.
Steve (Idaho)
@Suzanne people in the Gig economy can just barely make rent. Setting aside for a rainy day is a ridiculous idea when you are already skipping meals to make rent.
Peter (Austin, TX)
@Suzanne Being an Uber driver probably doesn't pay well enough to set aside some money. Also your woe is me I'm a business owner whining falls on deaf ears when others who work for business owners can't afford to run their own business. This article talks about Fortune 500 companies that reap in Billions in profit. They oppose giving their workers sick pay and certainly can afford it.
steve (CT)
I am currently not going out to these places, but when there comes a time to go out again I will keep a list of these companies not to go to for my own health. In fact it would be nice to have a sticker that stores could place on their window saying they support sick leave. Just like I won’t buy tuna without a label saying it protects dolphins. We have a system that places profits before people. - A new Yale Study shows Medicare for All will prevent 68,000 unnecessary deaths and will save $450 billion - each and every year - 530,000 bankruptcies in 2019 from healthcare debt - 500,000 people are sleeping out on the streets today - The wealthiest three families now own more wealth than the bottom half of the country
William O. Beeman (San José, CA)
@steve The sticker idea is a terrific one. I hope that people will pick up on this. I will try to promulgate this. Thank you for such a great suggestion. Nothing will move these large companies like a public movement.
Kingfish52 (Rocky Mountains)
@steve Yeah, but that's "radical socialism"! How easy it is to dupe an uneducated citizenry.
JaneB (Hong Kong)
@steve LOVE the sticker idea!! Hope it catches on !
FOL (London)
Friends in the US I lived many years in your country, had really good times. But what never entered my thoughts was that my German sick fund system, with paid leave of up to 6 weeks (!!) was viewed as socialistic and too expensive for employers etc. Yes, in Germany we pay full taxes and a contribution to sickfund system, but somehow we think we get something back. USA still has a strong believe to do things different, I wish that this virus crisis changes the views and leads to am ore humane society.
FOL (London)
May I add, i wish the USA a really good return to normality, from my deepest heart, whatever your thoughts are on politics!
Barbara Greenhill (Richmond, CA)
I wish too, but don’t count on it. The one candidate who thinks like us gets no support, not from the DNC nor from the media/NYT editorial board. I’m pretty sure the super delegates already decided for Biden. What’s left is the same ole, same old.
Barry Short (Upper Saddle River, NJ)
@Barbara Greenhill. Perhaps you should wait for the completion of the primary process to see whether or not "super delegates" really make a difference. It is disappointing to see people already getting ready to blame the "system" if Sanders doesn't get the nomination instead of considering that, just maybe, he won't be the choice of the average primary voter.
Tibby Elgato (West county, Republic of California)
If you buy anything from these companies now it might be a good time to consider never doing so again until they treat their employees humanely.
jo (northcoast)
Just as we in the US should have had better plans for a pandemic as, say, Taiwan has, US workers should also have savings for a rainy day knowing they do not have paid sick leave as a worker benefit. I'm thinking many more Americans would be/will be OK about a 2-month change in life movements and a 2-week sickout had they sacrificed/saved earlier in their lives. Savings is not the American way, however . . .
LauraF (Great White North)
@jo Unrealistic. Many, many people do not make enough money to make ends meet, never mind save enough for a two-month pay break. I've never wanted for anything and made a decent living, but my salary was never enough to save that much for a rainy day (or pandemic). Imagine what it's like for a service worker with a family.
J (New Orleans)
@jo paying employees such a small amount that they cannot afford to dave while paying for riding rent and medical costs - that's the American way.
Glen Park (USA)
@jo You're right, saving is not the American way. But as the other comments say, this is very often because salaries are so low they don't allow it. Goodness, many salaries are so low at many of the corporations listed in this article that even full-time workers sometimes have to get food stamps, etc, so as to feed their families. I don't begrudge those in need, not at all, food stamps are an essential life-line. What I am opposed to is the exploitation of workers such that they are put in such a position in the first place. I am so tired of subsidizing obscenely wealthy corporations (here's looking at you, Walmart). So tired of socialism for the rich.
Ross (Vermont)
A global pandemic might necessitate government action. If not now, when? Capitalism is killing us.
Kathy White (Las Vegas)
Excellent reporting and just what we need at a time like this. Now I know which businesses to avoid in the future. Kudos to the NYTimes for keeping us informed. Thank you.
EB (San Diego)
Let's not forget the 500,000 people in the U.S. who lack shelter, access to health and sanitation, and reliable food. Now that our libraries are closed here in San Diego, they don't even have the shelter from the rain, reading matter, computers, or bathrooms that the libraries normally provide.
Annie Mack (San Diego)
I am a PT hourly wage earner at a retail chain in CA. I believe due to CA law we are ‘guaranteed’ 3 paid sick days per year, but for all practical purposes we can’t take a sick day. We only have 2 people scheduled for each shift so if you don’t show up, you are placing a huge burden on your co-worker. There are only 6 of us total on staff so the chances of waking up sick & getting one of your 4 remaining co-workers to cover your shift on a moment’s notice is between slim and none. And, I feel whenever we do call out we are perceived as less reliable so then you get scheduled less in the future.
Phil Carson (Denver)
As usual, the actual facts undercut the nay sayers. Shame on non-compliant corporate America, thanks NYTimes.
Bhikhaji Maneckji (Providence)
In all these comments, I haven't seen anyone offer to pay higher prices. Interesting.
LauraF (Great White North)
@Bhikhaji Maneckji That's because these companies make huge profits. They don't need to charge more for their products. They only need to make a bit less money and provide their employees decent benefits.
Bhikhaji Maneckji (Providence)
@LauraF as Senator Russell once said, "Don't tax me, don't tax thee, tax the feller behind the tree"
thostageo (boston)
@LauraF true McD's an DD stores are all updated , nice new buildings , same old treatment of employees ... rather " team members "
Chevy (South Hadley, MA)
Businesses will give a one-time benefit for this once-in-a-century pandemic and the Senate will insist on removing the sick leave benefit, as well as sunsetting the entire rescue package after one year, and the powers that be will breathe a huge, collective sigh of relief. What about "independent contractors", many of whom are front-line hourly workers in the service trades? Many of them can't say no to a boss who has an unwritten policy of shunting them to the bottom of the assignment list! Should they endanger their customers to make that extra dollar, work until it is clear that they can no longer safely do so, mask the symptoms? This is the juncture at which our social contract - the misunderstood gray area between those who have careers with all the benefits and those who have no job security - breaks down. Until we learn that we are all in this together, that even the lowliest citizen is entitled to the same basic care and concern as the the privileged, there will be neither safety nor peace of mind for anyone.
Willow (Hopkinton, MA)
Terrific piece. Practical and ethical. I am forwarding to friends who do not live in states requiring paid sick leave. And I will avoid the businesses shown in the graphic, even though these companies must comply with Massachusetts law and provide sick leave here. It is so very helpful when the NYT fulfills its leadership role! Thank you.
xzr56 (western us)
The "public interest" sounds like SOCIALISM! During this time of crisis we should be considering more choices of individual private health insurance plans from our friends at America's Health Insurance Plans and The Partnership For America's Healthcare Future. We should BUILD on what works so well today.
teresa (Oregon)
@xzr56 I have never understood why we pay an entire industry (medical insurance) to stand in between us and our medical care, sucking up money that should be spent on care. Medicare for all.
LauraF (Great White North)
@xzr56 Oh, right. The scary socialism bugaboo under the bed. What you have in America is a cumbersome, unwieldy, impractical patchwork where the middleman -- the insurance companies -- take most of the money. Other western democracies have excellent socialized health care and we do just fine without hundreds of competing interests sucking up the funds need to pay for actual health care. The USA just doesn't get what the rest of us know already. And what's so great about lagging behind? Not MAGA at all.
xzr56 (western us)
@xzr56 Hey everybody! I was being facetious!
D P Luna (Belleville Illinois)
Good on The Times for naming companies that do not offer paid sick leave for their employees, informing readers who care to stop patronizing them. Now please name companies that DO provide paid sick leave so we'll know whom TO patronize. PS Providing the names both of companies who do, and do not, offer paid sick leave in separate alphabetical lists too would be helpful.
Please demand that the mayor close all non essential services right now to stop transmission of the virus. Close restaurants and bars. Lets do this today.
Eugene (NYC)
If someone gets sick, and dies as a result of coming in contact with a sick employee, the company should be prosecuted for murder, for that is clearly the result of permitting sick employees to come to work.
Peter (Austin, TX)
The NY Times and much of the commentators spent months bashing Bernie in the primary saying his policies are unrealistic and people should vote for Biden who vowed to veto Medicare 4 All. Hey centrists do you see the irony in "realistic" policies?
ss (los gatos)
@Peter No, I don't. One of the take-aways from this article is the fact that a rational sick -leave policy will not break the bank.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
Peter Top down massive change rarely works. Can Progressives get one state to implement the progressive agenda? Massachusetts passed its own health reform. States can pass free college legislation for their state institutions and so on and so forth. Liberal Vermont and Massachusetts have Republican governors. Not very progressive. Yet, conservative Kansas and Montana have moderate Democratic governors. Progressives need to do some real implementation at the state and local level first.
Peter (Austin, TX)
@Practical Thoughts You mean the New Deal never worked? How about the GI Bill that got people homes? You can't implement nationwide social safety nets at a state level state but at a national level. Instead of demanding hurdles for progressives, how about explaining what centrist has worked at any level.
jrsherrard (seattle)
Yesterday, the Times featured the malfeasances of a pandemic profiteer. I'd contend that, of all the corporations you list in your introductory graphic, Amazon (which owns Whole Foods) takes the cake on forthcoming profits from public misery. Their delivery systems now easily rival those of the USPS, Fedex and UPS, ensuring vast profits in the months, perhaps years to come. And yet this edifice of gain is built on the shoulders of lowly workers, many of whom will be exposed to the virus while attempting delivery. These workers at Amazon (and Whole Foods) are given two weeks of paid sick leave. After that expires, Amazon encourages healthy workers to "donate" their sick days to help their ill co-workers. So. Positioned to rake in almost unimaginable profits, Amazon asks its workers to sacrifice. The low-level profiteers highlighted in yesterday's Times are veritable saints compared to the calculated combination of profiteering and abuse engineered by Amazon.
matt j (tx)
If upending the health care industry to guarantee health care to all Americans is too radical, what are we supposed to do about paid sick leave?
anon. (Detroit)
Everyone's a Democratic Socialist during a Pandemic. But Trump et co. were always oligarchical 'socialists'.
Do Republicans stay up all night just trying to come with ways to encourage the spread of covid-19, as well as other illnesses? Listening to businesses who have already profited from this administration's tax policies over public health concerns is insane. I guess they don't care if their customers die. How stupid is that? We do need to take these businesses to task and not support them, but it won't be easy. I'm down to Aldi as the only supermarket in my area who supports paid sick leave--and it is not even one of their larger stores. But I will try my best--as if my life depends on it, which is likely. Vote these people out of office.Please!
Macbloom (California)
“Chipotle... paying bonuses to employees who follow the company’s food safety procedures.” Not very encouraging.
Rose (nj)
I work for Applebees. They employ so many independent contracting businesses from their neighborhoods. Electrical, plumbing, AC and heating, roofers, painters, window washers, upholstery, carpenters, carpet layers, landscapers, trash disposal, mega property taxes. They hire high school students and give them their first jobs. They mentor them, train them, and truly care about their employees. most live at home with their parents. Just because a policy is not on the books doesn't mean they are not helping their employees in times of need. They have the cleanest and most conscientiously run business in the community. Your writers should stir the insulation pot somewhere else.
Rena W. (San Diego, CA)
Don't forget the thousands of adjunct professors and "freeway flyers" teaching at the university, college and community colleges around the country. The majority of them have no sick leave and/or retirement and many of them are so poorly paid they live out of their cars.
Brian (Brooklyn)
Many of the chain restaurants with no paid sick leave also happen to contribute to the obesity epidemic, plying processed food that's high in calories, sodium and carbs. So even if you don't get sick from an ill worker, you're likely to still come out worse from having eaten there in the first place. Yet another reason to avoid these places like the plague.
thostageo (boston)
@Brian actually , I agree . For decades I have asking " what business wants to harm their customers ? "
grusilag (dallas, tx)
It isn't just paid sick leave, its all those people that are now at risk of getting laid off as the economy sputters. All of those people will be at risk of losing their health insurance. Imagine a country where the number of people who cannot access affordable healthcare increases during a time where affordable healthcare is needed most. We've had an entire primary season where healthcare has been the main issue. And now we see why. A lot of people were turned off by the proponents of Medicare for All because those proponents were considered grumpy and obnoxious. I think as these problems pile up you'll see a lot more people being grumpy and obnoxious but for much worse reasons.
Mindful (Ohio)
I didn’t realize Kroger was one of the companies that takes advantage of its employees. I thought they were more generous than that. Looks like I’ll be finding other stores to buy my groceries from, thanks Kroger.
J. (Midwest)
I agree. We also need to let them know we are changing our shopping habits, since only economic pressure matters to Kroger’s and the like.
Eve R (Seattle)
Ditto. Kroger owns a huge chain of stores (QFC) in the Seattle community, which I will no longer shop in. Kroger — shame on you. The last thing we need are sick workers unable to afford to stay home who are handling our food. Thank you for this informative piece!
pork (portland)
@Mindful I really enjoy my Kroger/Fred Meyer store. I wouldn't mind paying a little more to know that the workers were better off. I'm going to write them.
Nate (London)
These companies have, first and foremost, an obligation to their shareholders. Why should they implement paid sick leave and risk even more economic damage when their competition isn't doing the same. See my point? This is a political issue that must be implemented across the competition, and only the electorate can do that. But last time I checked, the electorate voted against it when they put Republicans in the White House and Senate. So it seems a bit silly to then shift footing and try to make it a private issue again. Americans do not want to pay a little bit more for their consumption in order to ensure that workers are treated better. They just don't. So don't blame CEOs when the decision so blatantly rests in the hands of the "regular Joes" within the electorate.
Phil Carson (Denver)
@Nate I don't buy your argument. And, clearly, you are not a worker who needs protections. Secondly, you must see the ignorance and naivete of the voters who got conned into voting for Trump. So you say the market rules everything or the voters are accountable. Not in the time of coronoavirus and Trump, my friend.
Caroline (Chicago, IL)
@Nate - The average US CEO makes 271x the average worker (via Economic Policy Institute). They're not hurting one bit and wouldn't miss a dime out their multi-million $ salaries. People (republicans) voting against their own interests, does not excuse the greed and rot at the top.
Sylco (Atlanta)
@Nate “Shareholder benefit” is such a tired and superficial tirade. My stock in Home Depot, JP Morgan, et al is doing just fine. A smart investor goes with companies who position themselves to be able to profit because of wide and resourceful positions on a host of traits that make them strong.
Galfrido (PA)
All of us, except maybe the billionaires, are going to feel economic pain and major disruption to our lives from this pandemic. The government can help, as it does after natural disasters. But in this case, when public health depends on people being able to stay home when they’re sick or when the business they work for has to close (as many restaurants will - is McDonald’s “essential”?) the owners of these companies, particularly corporations with enormous wealth like McDonald’s and Walmart need to step up and help their employees. What if the CEOs take a pay cut for starters? We need to be helping each other now and looking out for the most vulnerable. Those who work two and three jobs to support their families may now be finding themselves with no job because the restaurant they work for is closed or their kids’ school closed.
Matt (Oakland, CA)
So many comments miss the point. Don’t get upset at businesses. The fundamental problem is that we need a nationalized healthcare system, not a patchwork of health offerings that favored the most wealthy and privileged. Managing healthcare from the business standpoint is a nightmare for the executives and their employees.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
Tell us how much M4A will cost and what sectors of the medical industry will be induced to maintain or increase services, products and innovation while taking less in salary or profit. I get that the private insurance industry gets junked. I am more concerned about how you address doctor, nursing and specialist salaries. How you force pharma and medical device companies to produce more while taking less? How will you address malpractice costs? Bernie owes us a more detailed explanation if he effectively takes over a large percentage of the economy.
Sharon (Leawood, KS)
@Matt , paid time off (catch all for sick and "vacation" time for most companies/businesses) is typically a separate benefit from health insurance benefits. M4A (nationalized healthcare) would not impact how businesses structure paid time off. In addition, I would venture to guess that those workers who are part-time (majority of retail, restaurants, other services) don't get PTO. Companies need to step up to the plate and cover sick leave when needed for hourly workers.
Stan Sutton (Westchester County, NY)
@Matt Why not get upset at the businesses? The businesses can do something today without waiting for a national healthcare system to be put into place. Offering paid sick leave is not the same thing as "managing healthcare" and plenty of businesses do it already. As it is, I have a choice of supermarkets, and when I next go grocery shopping I'm not going to a supermarket that doesn't offer its employees paid sick leave. I don't want to reward a business that is based on putting its employees and customers at risk, and I'm not willing to take on that risk myself. I'm going to do what I can to make sure that businesses can't afford NOT to offer their employees paid sick leave.
The company names and numbers here are huge. How many are franchises, though? How many, for all intents and purposes, are small businesses? Will they qualify for assistance to their employees under the federal relief package (under 50 employees)?
P Stewart (Nova Scotia)
If they're under fifty employees, they don't qualify under the legislation - it only applies to employers who have 51-500 employees. (To make it even sillier, my understanding is that even those businesses can ask to be exempted.)
Thank you. In addition to the expansion of paid family leave, the bill also establishes a new paid sick leave program that calls for employers to immediately grant 14 days of paid sick leave that can be used by infected people, caretakers and parents whose children's schools have been closed. This benefit, too, is available only to people working at companies with fewer than 500 employees. Small businesses (defined as having 50 employees or less) will be reimbursed for providing the 14 days of additional paid sick leave. So, maybe the big-bubble names will be broken down by small-business franchise and WILL, in fact, get sick time for their folks. 14 days at least.
vineyridge (Mississippi)
This is the result of unions having been gutted since the Reagan Reaction. I've been doing some thinking, and it has occurred to me that in virtually every case where social policy benefits the working class strong unions (or a national crisis or a war or a violent revolution) are a pre-condition to legislation. Unions are vital to social democracy; that's where Bernie Sanders is going wrong. First you build unions, then they build social democracy. In the US, it was always union participation in politics that led to laws protecting workers. Without them, there is no check on employer greed. Paid sick leave has always been a feature of collective bargaining contracts. The real question to ask is how many of these employers who do not offer sick are unionized. Even more than paid sick leave, what America needs is federal legislation abolishing "right to work" and a Supreme Court that will uphold such a law.
Mel (NY)
@vineyridge Absolutely, but its also a result of American unions having chosen at one point NOT to fight for universal rights -- like sick leave and family leave and universal health care. European unions fought for these rights. And we would do well as a nation to follow.
Sam (TX)
No, this is the result of the demographic shift in employees in part-time, entry-level, largely unskilled positions. McDonalds drive-thrus used to be staffed by teenagers who, if sick, stayed home and saw the doctor their parents insurance covered. Now they’re staffed by adults with families who are unable to move on to jobs that offer benefits because they lack education and/or language skills necessary to do so.
Richard Hahn (Erie, PA)
@vineyridge I agree--and with someone from Mississippi! You've broken the stereotype of people from former slave states. But I'll have to add that strong union formation--or returning to it--is one of the major planks in Sanders' platform. He emphasizes it along with all his other proposals that are involved in democratic socialism. I'm a supporter, so I'm biased about his humane and compassionate--and entirely sensible!--policies and plans. This country is wealthy enough to enact them if another one of his plans, regarding wealth distribution and inequality, is also enacted.
Gulo (New England)
I work for a Fortune 500 that mingles sick leave with PTO, which also disincentives sick employees from staying home. My yearly PTO allotment would be completely exhausted were I to catch this virus and self-quarantine for 2 weeks. Until companies are mandated to offer sick leave, and that sick leave be separate from PTO, the problem will continue.
Chuck (CA)
@Gulo Smart companies are getting ahead of the curve and ahead of congress on this. My wife's company changed policy a week ago and now offers an additional two weeks sick leave (no blending as PTO, which they have had for years) as well as 4 weeks of paid leave to care for any sick family members, and any resulting self-quarantine. They also have instructed all employees who are able to do so.. to work from home through April 3, and it is likely they will extend this beyond April 3.
Ek (planet earth)
@Gulo My company just recently changed its policy from sick days and vacation to PTO. The CEO also sent out a message that he feels the teamsxare more productive if we are at the office. While he works from a small 3 person office in Dallas and we are in 50 person plus offices in Seattle and Atlanta.
mlb4ever (New York)
@Gulo When my division was part of a Fortune 500 company we had unparalleled sick leave / on the job injury, 26 weeks paid and after 10 years, 52 weeks paid. After our division was sold to and an equity firm that policy changed overnight. Now we get 9 PTO days however after 5 consecutive, we qualify for 25 weeks of short term disability. Now if we get injured on the job we are thrown in the Workers Compensation cesspool.
Wendy Bartlett (WA)
If the government provided for the health and education of every citizen/worker our corporations would not be required to and it would be more equitable.
CW (Left Coast)
The large corporations that provide no paid sick leave usually don't provide health insurance or pay a living wage, either. When the issue of raising the minimum wage to $15 comes up, Republicans say it will hurt the nation's small businesses, but the fact is, the biggest opponent of raising the minimum wage is McDonald's. Funny that In 'n Out (a family-owned business) can pay good wages and provide health benefits and be very profitable, but McDonald's can't. Could it be that the concept of putting shareholder value first is what is killing American workers? Too bad Jack Welch is no longer around to answer that question.
@CW - It will be telling to see how this plays out. My bet is that if these companies don’t change their policies now to help mitigate this pandemic, there will be a massive number of lawsuits once everything settles down that will force them to change their calculus for the long term. Unfortunately, it will probably take many deaths exacerbated by spread from sick workers to make the point. “Profits first, workers later”!
Mark (New York)
@CW Touche. In and Out does indeed prove you can offer affordable fast food, and pay living wages. The constant desire for the lowest wage is unsustainable on so many levels.
Steve (Minneapolis)
@CK Empty parking lots and no customers will also force change. I'll try not to patronize any restaurant where sick leave is not offered, for my good and theirs.
Michael (NYC)
Behold, the under regulated free market at its finest. The angles, scams and evils of our capitalist system no no end or shame. Perhaps there's some theoretically pure form of capitalism that truly generates well being, doesn't destroy the ecosystem and allows people to live with dignity and well being. I haven't seen it. Just like communism in theory is an enlightened system but humans are far too greedy and self-centered to actualize it. They'll look back in the future and marvel at how we ever survived.
JP (Portland OR)
This exposes another layer of the “gig economy” corporations have evovled to—it’s not just peviously full-time office workers and white collar employees who have been marginaized by losing such benefits. Corporations have hollowed out the economy for two decades now with anti-social benefits and “temp” hiring.
Mort (Detroit)
Perhaps something good can come out of this if we successfully shame corporations and Republican legislators into moving in the right direction with paid time off and health care.
Sue Gould (Sedona, AZ)
@Mort: Shame corporations and Republican legislators? How? Stick out our tongues at them? How about getting rid of them thru elections and replacing them in our state and national legislative bodies with candidates who support and will legislate paid time off and affordable/accessible health care for all Americans? We'll have our chance in November. As for corporations too greedy to protect the workers who make them rich, they either abide by these laws or go to court. Accountability - a characteristic unknown to this president, greedy corporations and businesses as well as Republican legislators - shouldn't depend on whim or personal choice. It needs to be backed by clear legislation and judicial enforcement.
Mort (Detroit)
@Sue Gould I don't know how old you are, but in my several decades on this planet, I've seen a lot of change motivated by shame. Civil Rights, environmental and most other major legislation were passed in reaction to extreme incidents or situations, not because the majority of those elected ran on supporting those improvements. Companies (from Walmart to to McDonald's) have increased wages and improved working conditions due to public pressure. You aren't going to get any "judicial enforcement" for at least a decade or two, after what McConnell & Trump have accomplished with the courts.
Andy Makar (Hoodsport WA)
What is appalling is not that we require taxation to provide the funds to give paid sick leave. What is appalling is that the companies fight it tooth and nail. How much clearer does Wall Street have to make it? They do not care about workers. Workers are a commodity and no more important than the beef and wheat that goes into their product. If they had their way, they would simply put down an unproductive employee just like a cow. They don't even care about their customers. Oh wait, they do. They just call is firing. Or a lack of workplace safety. I wonder what would happen if people simply refused to buy fast food for just one day.
Keith Dow (Folsom Ca)
Your chart has Payless Shoes. That doesn't exist as a retail store anymore. It will be interesting to see how many are left after this year.
Chuck (CA)
@Keith Dow Yeah.. if you read the footnote, this data is more than a year old.. and not even remotely accurate in the context of COVID-19. Walmart for instance, changed it's policy and extended sick leave to employees beginning last week.
Joen (NYC)
@Keith Dow Good point, I’m not clear on the economics in sick leave pay, but what is clear, most retailers are fighting to stay in business period. The list of failing stores, some formerly large chains, lost jobs is frightening.
Bjornson (Wisconsin)
@Keith Dow Run out of business by a Private Equity concern...f predatory capitalism.
Shoshon (Portland, Oregon)
And who is most likely to lead this challenge: Biden or Bernie?
Elizabeth (Swarthmore PA)
Can anyone find a list of hotels and restaurant chains that DO offer paid sick leave? Trying to get someone across country by driving instead of flying and want to support those businesses for both health and moral reasons!
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
Americans of all backgrounds are THE MOST RUTHLESS consumers in the world. They are focused shoppers looking for the deal over all. They abandoned the Sears and JC Penny for Wal-Mart. Unions ran “Made in the USA” campaigns for years and they were ignored. Now everyone flocks to Amazon and Grubhub. We complain loudly about food prices while ignoring its TOTAL reliance on exploited refugees. Conservatives don’t pretend to be any different. Liberals walk the talk but don’t come through. Look at all the foreign car nameplates that are ALL built non union. Look how miserly people are when quoting a kitchen remodel or in home child care. Look at the willingness to use illegal immigrant labor. Americans have not demonstrated a moral outlook to purchasing. Your laws will just lead to people driving out 50 miles to get a taco from Taco Bell.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
Americans also steal music and movies with illegal downloads. Donald Trump and many in construction stiff their subs. Houses are built with immigrant labor. Americans scream loudly about paying taxes to support schools. We are a very cheap people. Canadian, Japanese and EU style compassion won’t work in the US. We are too competitive and self focused. There are not enough Americans built any other way.
RBR (Santa Cruz, CA)
Isn’t this free market ideology at it best? The American culture doesn’t put individuals first, in America I mean the United States of America... Corporations reign supreme.
BarryNash (Nashville TN)
There is a huge "hole" in your coverage and editorials about workers and paid sick leave. The discussion proceeds as if the same corporations, and many others, hadn't laid off millions and turned us into freelancers and consultants, so-called, with no benefits of any kind. Where are your comments and coverage of the gig economy more and more of us live in--and how that's supposed to work now? Gig workers have no "leave" ever.
Coco (NY)
Companies like Walmart and Disney should not be on this list. Shame on them for not paying some employees paid leave. I wonder how much Bob Iger is enjoying building a super yacht while some of his lower paid employees struggle to pay for their bare necessities. "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone." HDT
JDK (Chicago)
Take the names of the companies and their executives.
vince williams (syracuse, utah)
Great article. So - what happens when the paycheck bounces? Another financial genius.
New Jerseyan (Bergen)
Checking out in Whole Foods the other night, when the cashier tells me she is not feeling well. My first reaction of course is Hey! You just touched all of my food! But my second thought is, of course! if you stay home, your family does not eat. Ironic eh? If we don't look out for each other, we don't look out for each other. Simple isn't it?
Paul Wortman (Providence)
You can blame the Congressional Republicans for once again caving in to their corporate benefactors by refusing to accept Speaker Pelosi's plan to force all employers to provide paid sick leave. The Republican Party has been all-in in destroying The Affordable Care Act [aka Obamacare], cutting food stamps, requiring work to get food and restricting access to Medicaid, and this is just their latest act of callousness that will, as with their unwillingness to regulate guns, kill thousands of Americans. Hopefully, their abrogation of their oath to serve and protect the most vulnerable citizens will finally make even the Trump base finally realize that you must have a healthy workforce if you're going to have a healthy economy. The connection couldn't be more obvious and as Republicans, who naively believe the Covid-19 is a "hoax" continue to expose themselves and others to the virus, they'll realize that "alternate facts" are fatal and that they've been betrayed.
Excessive Moderation (Little Silver, NJ)
What about outside contractors? How do those on the gig economy recoup their money or even maintain their hand to mouth existence?
In this time of world wide health crisis , Trump and his government have tried to buy a German firm working to find a vaccine for the coronavirus .
Gerd (Texas)
And the complete story is, once the company has been purchased, Mr. Trump wants to exclude all other countries, also Germany, from the medicine. I can add that this company has been heavily funded by German taxpayer money.
@Gerd Sure. I know. I am European. I know the tricks of the Americans.
Brez (Spring Hill, TN)
This is why we need unions.
RCJCHC (Corvallis OR)
I have trouble with us calling out these companies when in truth, America's so called "health care" system is really a profit driven "sick care" system. If you have money, you can pay for being sick...that's America's so called "health care" in a nutshell. The fact that these companies don't offer sick leave is just a symptom of that problem. Medicare for all!
Sleepless (Seattle)
Here’s a simple test: compare what these companies provide their hourly workers compared to their salaried executives. I bet all of the large companies who don’t provide paid sick leave to their hourly workers (or healthcare) offer generous paid sick leave/health care packages to their execs because no exec would take a job without paid sick leave. The idea that these companies can’t afford to do the same for their hourly workers is ridiculous. If what you are running is in fact a slave wage labor machine, then we’re all better of without it.
Mdb288 (New Jersey)
Of course public and worker health should be the predominant priority. But at times I feel there is just knee jerk anti corporate rhetoric. Corporations are terrible but make a vaccine; make masks; make hand sanitizer....
Martha Shelley (Portland, OR)
For years now--since Obama's time in office, when single payer or even a public option was discarded in favor of the ACA (which did zip to reduce costs overall, and left tens of millions uncovered)--the mainstream media have been telling us that M4A is unrealistic. Chasing unicorns. Meanwhile, millions of Americans have been denied care, suffered unnecessarily, gone bankrupt, even died. Our nation pays twice as much, on average, as other developed nations, with inferior outcomes. But now that we have a pandemic on our hands, do you think you think you might change your tune?
Lynne Shapiro (California)
@Martha Shelley It's awful that Sanders supporters are exploiting this dire health situation to promote their agenda.
Martha Shelley (Portland, OR)
@Lynne Shapiro I'm in the health care field and I've been promoting M4A since 2008.
Gwen (Cameron Mills, NY)
Capitalism has come face to face with its nemesis -- social-welfare. The unspoken business mantra that improves the bottom line has been "pay them less and work them more." Now is the time for big business to make the right move -- considering social welfare may not enlarge the bottom line as far as money is concerned, but the goodwill that can come from decency will pay off manifold. This country's economic health shouldn't matter more than the health of its workers.
Edgar (NM)
In a declaration for a national emergency, CEO's were trotted out as if they were advertisements. Our country is driven by the rich and by these people who need to step to the plate to help the people in this country. I really don't expect much from them anymore. The USA of coming together during 9/11 does not seem to exist anymore.
John Pitkin (St. Louis, MO)
The way to let consumers decide is to have companies post signs at their entrances similar to health ratings in restaurants. I would be happy to make my retail and dining choices based on the establishment’s sick leave policy. This could be voluntary, and eventually it would become expected like an A rating for restaurant.
J. (Midwest)
I appreciate the list of large corporations, whose CEO’s and upper management are paid millions, yet do not offer any paid time off to hourly employees. I will avoid doing business with them, in favor of small businesses which often are more humanitarian in their employment practices. Economic pressure is the only way to effect change, given that the Republican controlled-Senate blocks true progress for America’s hardworking citizens.
James Lee (Arlington, Texas)
Democracy is rooted in the idea that government will protect citizens only if they help choose the lawmakers, giving those officials a practical incentive to govern in the interests of their constituents. The same principle logically applies to the economy, where the profit motive can easily leave employers insensitive to the needs of their workers. Unions have the potential to pressure owners to consider the welfare of their employees, in order to preserve the viability of their companies. In practice, this bargaining power generally serves long-term corporate interests, by creating a more contented and efficient work force, and by stimulating demand for industry products among the workers. But the widespread absence of paid sick leave in the American economy confirms the conclusion that the focus on short-term profits tends to blind the business community to the reality that owners and workers share an interest in both profits and a prosperous laboring class. The most effective solution to the shortsighted policies of corporate America lies in the restoration of a vigorous union movement. Laws can help, but the outsized influence of the business community hamstrings the legislative approach.
Coseo (Portland OR)
Social democracy, (which could include "socialist Republicans") would pass laws that require paid sick leave. As pointed out sick leave does not simply benefit the sick worker but perhaps has a greater benefit to the public by limiting transmission. These public benefits include social security. It doesn't just keep grandma from begging in the street, it also allows (sometimes) older workers to leave the workforce, which makes room for younger workers who are often paid less due to less seniority. A socialist democracy is not antithetical to capitalism. Creating rules for a healthy work force helps all businesses compete fairly without a rush to the bottom to squeeze out every penny from every worker. If every business pays for sick leave, they all have the same costs and society is better for it. Paid sick leave would actually go towards making America great(er).
Steve Griffith (Oakland, CA)
It is utterly unfathomable that, in the year 2020, an act of Congress is required even to partially fund paid sick leave for American workers. And yet, as the Times has pointed out, even this measure contains gaping loopholes to appease the greed of the country’s capitalistic corporations. Companies with over 500 employees, such as McDonald’s and Amazon, are exempt, and businesses with fewer than 50 employees can make “hardship” appeals to the Trump administration, leaving a paltry 20% of workers even partially covered by this so-called bill. In a nation where the health and welfare of America’s employees take a backseat to their employers’ greed, the pandemic we are witnessing is perhaps a logical consequence. Or perhaps this is all that winning that Trump told us we would be doing—the kind that would make us all sick.
Terry (ct)
What?! Hobby Lobby doesn't provide paid sick leave? The company whose owners' oh-so-pious religious convictions prohibit them from including contraception in employee health care? I can't find any place in the Bible where Jesus talks about contraception, but I'm pretty sure he told us to care for the sick. Strange.
Anthony (Western Kansas)
Wall Street doesn’t like it so it won’t happen.
Mark (DC)
President Donald J. "Slow-Start" Trump sounds like a great Trumpian nickname for the man whose self-aggrandizing instincts and permanent-ME-ME-ME-campaign caused the U.S. coronavirus response to lag.
Truth is True (PA)
Thank you for the heads up. I now know where to not go shopping. You do know that McDonald’s workers will show up to work sick because they have no choice. And, having the highest rate of uninsured workers, it is a certainty customers will pick up Coronavirus along with their Big Macs. I’ll pass on the Big Mac. Thank you.
kirk (kentucky)
For kids on long bus rides two brothers in Chattanooga have provided the lyrics for a new song : "seventeen thousand seven hundred bottles of hand sanitizer on a wall, seventeen thousand seven hundred bottles of sanitizer. Take one down ,pass it around,there'll be seventeen thousand six hundred and ninety nine bottles of hand sanitizer on the wall."
Denis E Coughlin (Stuart, Florida)
It so unfair that these poor companies sacrifice beloved profits over the health concerns of employees. This Great Nation was founded under the principles of slavery, if a slave got sick and died the owner just buried that one bought another. It's little different now, owner dismiss sick workers, and hire a new one. It least the poor owner does have to bother to burry the sick dismissed ex worker. it's the sick person fault that he or she got sick. Our Great President is just trying to make America Really Great Again, what could be wrong with that?
Lynne Shapiro (California)
This is more on the mark to me than the other Editorial Board chide of Speaker Pelosi's not able to have Senate Republicans and Donald Trump sign a bill with more extensive sick leave provisions. Even Moses couldn't change Pharaoh's hardened heart. Only G-d could with plagues. Hope we as a people don't suffer from any more plagues to change Trump and McConnell's hearts.
Carlos R. (New York, NY)
The cure for this is Medicare for All. Yet, the New York Times finds it hard to endorse Bernie Sanders for President.
Herr Fischer (Brooklyn)
Bernie would win in a landslide, if the election was in two weeks!
whaddoino (Kafka Land)
Are you kidding me? The banksters didn't put public interest ahead of profits, the media companies put Trump ahead of not poisoning the well of democracy (ask CBS boss Les Moonves), the oil and gas companies put profits ahead of the environment, health care is actual health care denial with scam medical billing to add insult to injury, everyone is looking out for number one, and checking a form on the box that you did something is more important than actually doing that thing in every sphere of American life. The American nightmare is never ending. And you dare ask for Chik-fil-A to give up greed? Shame on you.
Bill (Midwest US)
Greed that drives business to oppose paid sick leave is supported by Mr. Trump, Mr McConnell, Mr. Alexander, and across the conservative platform. The American people can change that through voting. Before we do that, we need to insure that employees are not being laid off or fired merely for being sick and unable to work.
Michael (Illinois)
Taco Bell has announced paid sick leave for all employees, and income protection if their restaurant closes
MichLaw (NC)
It's time to stop eating at restaurants and shopping at grocery stores that don't offer paid sick leave. The threat of coronavirus doesn't worry me as much as workers with vomiting or diarrhea handling the food we buy! Don't forget to write the business to let them know why you're going to start patronizing their competitors who offer paid sick leave!
Sackie (Crawford)
WalMart yet again, using taxpayer dollars to pay for something they could easily afford to give to every employee. McDonald's is no surprise either. Pay as little hourly as possible, employ just shy of full time, and find the local DHHS office for the rest.
Louise (USA)
With this pandemic, maybe just maybe we'll all come to see how "morally bankrupt" are capitalistic society is...
JB (San Francisco)
Speaker Pelosi should have gone to the mat for universal paid sick leave, but the Republicans forced her to accept the best she could get with no time to spare. Until all Republicans and their pals are voted out of office, the federal government will fail in its basic Constitutional duty to promote “a more perfect union” by providing for the “general welfare”. At the heart of “general welfare” is public health. Like wealth and income inequality, health inequality in the United States is a direct product of GOP policy. The GOP prioritizes tax cuts for the rich, corporate bailouts and foreign wars over federally funding a public health care option or universal health care - or paid sick leave for vulnerable workers in times of a health crisis like now. Eventually, if Trump’s payroll tax cut is authorized, they will further deplete funding for Social Security and Medicare. Republicans are still determined to kill Obamacare and insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. The coronavirus pandemic shows the world why America is not great for the vast majority of its people. An essential first step to righting the ship and protecting the health of every American is voting every Republican out of office in 2020.
Charlie in Maine. (Maine)
@JB You lost the GOP at the mere mention of the word Welfare, in any context. They care for the welfare of the rich and corporations. They mention welfare only when it pertains to the poor and never in the context of the founders' creating the country.
My spouse and I run a small business (8 employees). We provide two weeks paid sick leave to all our employees, and this can be extended, depending on the circumstances. Employees also have a minimum of two weeks paid vacation, and this increases the longer they stay with the company. We also have a small group health insurance policy and all of our employees are eligible to get coverage. We pay all their health insurance premiums, and fund their HSA accounts to the maximum we are allowed by law. None of this is taken out of their paychecks. We also give unpaid leave for family emergencies and/or other circumstances. As a small business, we are not required to do any of this. In fact, our insurance broker recently told us that our company is his last small business client that provides these benefits. We are not rich. We are solidly middle class. And we have been able to provide these benefits to all of our employees, for nearly 30 years now. We could have been a lot more well to do had we discontinued these benefits years ago. But my spouse and I both know that this is not the way to treat people. We have made a comfortable living in our business, and it is only right that we provide for our employees. So if we can do this, don't tell me that 99% of other businesses, large or small, in this country can't do the same thing.
Sm (New Jersey)
@JS Kudos to you! Hiring? :)
Herr Fischer (Brooklyn)
@JS You "European moderl" is commendable and your employees are in good hands. But New York City and Arizona are a world apart.
Barbara (Seattle)
@JS, Thank you. We need to hear that decency still exists.
will duff (Tijeras, NM)
What? Force companies to do ANYTHING that cuts into their profiits? Some would say that's downright un-American. Try telling the giant healthcare conglomerates to staff enough nurses. Hey, those people are expensive... cuts into profits big time. Guarantee enough Public Defenders? We just don't have the budget for that; we need that money for business tax benefits. Make sure there are enough ventilators for the next pandemic? Do you know what that kind of decision would do to our bottom line? If profit is our guiding moral principle, and government is "the problem," buckle your safety belts.
Rilke (Los Angeles)
Well, many of us were trying to change all that by voting for Sanders, The New York Times and its legions of oped writers went after him like the world is going to end if we were to vote for someone who is calling for a nation whose people mattered. You can't have it both ways.
I Gadfly (New York City)
Trump said Friday he didn’t close the pandemic office (Medical and Biodefense Preparedness) & he doesn’t know anything about it. Dr. Luciana Borio, May 7, 2018: “The threat of pandemic flu is our number one health security concern.” May 8, 2018: Trump fired Dr. Luciana Borio, by closing her White House unit “Medical and Biodefense Preparedness”, which is part of the National Security Council.
William Perrigo (U.S. Citizen) (Germany)
The problem with your typical America-First American is: They don’t take the bus to other countries to see how those countries do healthcare /sick leave, but the corporations they work for sure do and, this is important: them multi-national corporations keep it quiet! Don’t tell the American people what they’re missing out on! That’s the mantra. Smile for the camera while I screw the public! Pay me my corporate bonus! Of course, this attempt to blame-shame the corporations is not completely fair, because in Europe the governments set the rules and the corporations must comply. So, this attempt to get American corporations to feel bad about themselves not only won’t work that well, it just makes well-dressed corporate attorneys happy, defending the interests of their bosses who already bought politicians! The U.S. congress has become the chicken and the egg problem: first you need the fair rules for healthcare and sick leave and then the economy can work, but you don’t get elected unless you get down on your knees and promise to serve “the Godfather” [corporate interest] if he cones calling and—in politics—he always comes calling!
Notmypresident (Los Altos)
So Chick-fil-A is one of those without sick pay for their workers. Wait, isn't Chick-fil-A one of those "Christian" joints that generated some headline about some nonsense of "religious freedom" garbage? Isn't it a Christian doctrine to "love thy neighbors"? Wait again, workers are not "thy neighbors" but "thy servants". So heck, let them die and let them spread whatever to the customers who are not "thy neighbors" but "thy suckers". Can I shame them to do the right thing? Don't think so. Do they have or feel shame? Don't think so either. Protect the unborn but once born, baby, you are on your own and don't look at "me" for any "Christian love". We only love the greenback.
Sackie (Crawford)
@Notmypresident AGREE! Not to mention the ad campaign piggy-backing off the employees individual acts of kindness. The very employees they treat like garbage!
Richard Hahn (Erie, PA)
I'm biased as a die-hard Sanders supporter (but will vote blue no matter who), so I'm for his proposals and plans that address this matter. I'm also fully aware from his campaign about the wealth distribution in this country--up! The growing gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of us is just plain dangerous, as it is also so cruel. This unpaid sick leave report is just one example of how its consequences are beginning to show in very clear ways. Should things just always be this way in this country (in contrast to all the others)? People will say it's always this way--even after the iceberg was hit, the lifeboats were most available to the first class passengers. But the trend in all those other countries would provide evidence for a very big counter-argument nowadays. Practically (and humanely) speaking, it's what's in the budget, stupid!
EB (San Diego)
Lack of sick leave is just one of our country's profits-over-people follies. Lack of some form of Medicare for all is another. These issues, now glaringly painful at the time of the Corona virus pandemic, are just two of the many reasons why I support Senator Bernie Sanders for president. As a former hospital COO and clinician working in public health and public education, I've observed close up what the under funding in these sectors has cost us as a nation. We need the courage to come into the modern world.
Charles H. Henry (Keene, NH)
If the virus enters the cells via ACE-2 receptors, then why not set up a trial of ACE inhibitors that bind the receptors. ARBs such as Losartan, etc, are well known and readily available. Older patients which are more vulnerable probably are already on a variety of BP medications, it may be useful to switch to ARBs but obviously clinical trials need to be established to determine efficacy..
Lane (Riverbank ca)
Many businesses operate on very thin margins. Without drastically raising prices and customers willing to pay the increased cost the business will simply close. $10 for a cup of coffee $20 for a burger?
Katzman (Atlanta)
@Lane As you can see from the graphic, the biggest offenders are Walmart and MacDonalds, where your comment about margin doesn't apply. This is not about naming and shaming the mom and pop store, it is about corporate greed.
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
@Katzman No. Margins are thin in those industries. They make their money by being low cost and high volume. So yes, if cost increases are not met with higher pricing, those business models collapse. A Big Mac in New York is over $1 more than the same sandwich in South Carolina. The question is valid. Will Americans pay more?
Katzman (Atlanta)
@Practical Thoughts Chris Kempczinski's base salary is ~ $1.25 million. Walmart's CEO makes ~ 22.8 million, 1,200 the average median worker's salary. So forgive my skepticism that these companies can't pay their workers' benefits.
I’m sorry. What I say will be unpopular. If these companies paid everyone sick leave, there may not be jobs to which the sick could return. Better plan: pay them now, have them earn back the time with an extra few hours a week for a year. Will these companies get the money back in most cases? No, but it solves the problem.
Gerd (Texas)
I wonder how this works perfectly in Germany, with 6 weeks of paid sick leave.
MykGee (New York)
If sick leave is required, it will just add a few cents to that dollar meal, and that of the store next door as well. McDonald’s is doing fine in France, I would even say it’s less disgusting there. I don’t eat the dollar meal, but my taxes pay for the healthcare of those who work there when they got to ER, while the savings go to the people who eat there and the shareholders.
CAW (Denver)
Even in work places with paid sick leave, taking time off is often strongly discouraged. Combining sick leave with vacation in PTO plans also leads to employees coming to work sick to preserve their leave time. When I worked as a psychotherapist in a private practice, and I called in sick, the clinic director called back to tell me I had to come in because it would mean losing eight billable hours. And I was an employee who typically used about one to two sick days per year!
Cornflower Rhys (Washington, DC)
Why shouldn't all American workers have a fair work place? Why do we have to have unions to get paid sick leave, paid time off, fair procedures and fair wages? and affordable access to health care? Why shouldn't every worker have these things?
Gerd (Texas)
Very good question. For all the readers who think that this is impossible, go to Germany, a country with 6 weeks paid sick leave, and universal healthcare, and learn your lesson.
Berg Vik (Norway)
@Cornflower Rhys The other side of that coin is more expensive merchandises subsidizing these workers rights. The reason Norway is a high cost country. Ignorant, most often GPO Americans usually throw out: "It´s a country where you have to pay 7-8 dollars for a beer at bars and restaurants. Wouldn´t wanna live there!" But then again, Norwegian wages are adjusted equally, so that people can afford it. These prices also contribute to these worker´s holidays and parentel leave rights.
ACD (Upstate NY)
The bean counters who run Corporate America do not understand that employees are assets, not liabilities. They also do not understand that people who perform honest work are entitled to some dignity and time for themselves, whether for sickness or to have time to spend with loved ones.
Rose (Seattle)
You want broad support for this -- expand it not just to W2 workers but also to 1099 workers. Sure, there are logistics to figure out. Like, who pays, and how do you calculate missed wages of someone in the gig economy. But it's going to be hard to get people on board with sick leave for some. We need sick leave for all, regardless of the way in which you are paid your income.
Marie S (Portland, OR)
I am having a REALLY difficult time getting my head around these numbers: More than half a million employees at McDonald's are NOT paid if they have to stay home while sick? Not even a few days a year? And, remember: many of these jobs are minimum wage, adding insult to injury as these workers truly cannot afford unpaid days off. An earlier version of this opinion piece included a graph that indicated the percentages of workers at various companies who did not have sick leave. It's not in this version of the article - and I wish I knew why. Was it inaccurate? Or just damming? It was surreal. 86% of Subway workers - the ones making your sandwiches - do not receive paid sick days. 89% of Applebee's, 78% of McDonald's, 70% of Kroger's, 85% of Dunkin' Donuts. And I will bet you - dollars to Dunkin' Donuts - that the fraction that DOES receive sick leave are higher paid administrative positions. There is something seriously wrong with this country.
John Virgone (Pennsylvania)
Not overly surprising. The dollar always has had precedence over the human condition, particularly in the US. Paid sick leave should be mandatory, particularly given that it has proven successful where it currently is employed. This is just another example of taking advantage of those who can least afford it and have to work for these companies out of desperation. Customers, on the other hand, have options and that is the beauty of competition.
Usok (Houston)
Before my retirement from an oil company, my paid vacation time increased with my company seniority from two to eventually four weeks within the company. We had pretty flexible sick leave policy that you are staying home if you are sick unless it was longer than 3 days which will require a doctor's note. I thought that was reasonable and acceptable. But few people except management can survive past 55 years old before leaving the company by taking early retirement. We pretty much know that and take precaution & preparation for the eventual departure. In retail industry especially hospitality fields, the entry level qualification is lower and working environment tougher. And those jobs are harder for seniors. People won't last long in my thinking. Thus, I think the vacation policy should be more flexible but the sick leave policy should be better than those of an oil company. Government should protect its citizen especially the most vulnerable classes of all: the poor, hourly wage earners, and underprivileged, and the class minorities.
ma77hew (America)
Outside the 1619 project, I rarely compliment the Times especially it's editorial board but... Thank you ...For using this space to speak for the workers. I hope through this crisis you speak up even for more of us. Our survival in this economy was on the very edge well before this crisis. And now? Who knows. Thank you.
independent1776 (New Jersy)
In a perfect world to have all Employers to pay for workers on Sick leave is a noble gesture., but this is far from a noble world.. If a resturant is losing business because of thie coronavirus, they may not have any money to take care of those that have been infected with the virus.This is the responsibility of Government. The last thing that Trump want's to do is to help small business & their workers.He dosen't see any votes from these people.He will however ,help the large Corporations who fill his coffers. It's nonthing Personal with him .It's just Politics.
JCAZ (Arizona)
I am a retail manager. Starting this week, for good reason, we are shortening our store hours to close by 6pm. For a third of our team, we are their second job. They’re not doing it for clothing discounts, they need the salary. The company is offering them options but based on how the government has bungled this situation so far, I am concerned about them getting quick relief. Another comment, I have received many emails from stores / restaurants about their Coronavirus plans. In most of them they allude to business cleanings. I can tell you first hand, in most cases, there is no industrial strength cleaning going on. It is just the associates cleaning with antibacterial wipes / cleansers we have on hand as more supplies have been delayed. Consumer behaviors need to change. Up until last Monday, our store was packed. It was odd to hear customers who felt that this was an inconvenience to their vacation ( March is the height if the tourism season in Arizona). Be smart and please follow CDC recommendations about public gatherings.
TJ (The Middle)
Shifting to a policy of paid sick leave will have costs. Those costs will almost certainly cause reduced employment and reduced hours for those who are working (as well as lower profits - which would be OK - and slower service). It is wonderful to side with the hourly-wage workers but let's not just cherry pick an issue and say "give them two weeks paid leave" without thinking of the unavoidable second-order effects of the policy on other matters that directly impact those exact same people and their welfare. For example, there's only so much margin in a Big Mac. If McDonalds, which feeds a lot of people (few at the NY Times comments page, but millions nevertheless) offers its workers two weeks of paid sick leave, McDonalds profits will go down but so will its use of labor and its ability to deliver food to hungry people. If McDonalds isn't your choice for dining, great, but the same logic applies to every company that would implement the policy, and keeping the economy going is vital, too, not just to stock-market returns but also to all of us who live in that economy.
Steve (Idaho)
@TJ It would be perfectly reasonable for the state and federal governments to set up task forces on how to transition to paid leave for all with government subsidies to address the costs and manage the transition. It is a normal function of government and a rather straightforward project. It would probably cost less than 3 B1 Bombers to make it happen.
Gerd (Texas)
I don’t want my burger prepared by someone who might be sick. It should be in the company’s interests to protect customers as well as employees.
Eugene (NYC)
@TJ Absolutely true. So it is clear that hourly workes should not receive vacations, medical insurance or even pay since that also increases the company's costs! It is difficult to believe that someone would write such a comment for publication!
Matt (Seattle, WA)
This is what happens when you prioritize the economic health of corporations rather than the people who work for them.
Lucy (Upstate New York)
Servers at all restaurants should me making an living hourly wage and not dependent on tips- they’ll have no income going through this COVID19. There are large industries outside of the food companies who offer their employees no sick time and limited vacation. BorgWarner a successful large company, CEO’s making high dollars. Their union employees work a year to earn one week of a vacation- no sick or personal. After 3 years they get 2 weeks. Personal Time can be earned at a half a day a year for perfect attendance. If you or family are sick, employees use vacation time. Therefore leaving no quality time available for them and their family. In the US minimum vacation should be 2 weeks. They system across the US is wrong, health care and benefits. I understand both can and are abused by some however, everyone should not be penalized for the actions of others.
Art (Oregon)
All Americans deserve to have decent healthcare, housing, education, and work with a livable wage. These are four things in FDR’s economic bill of rights. It was right then and right now. On healthcare, major employers are a key source of revenue for building a national healthcare system for everyone. Still, we need national healthcare, with similar standards, benefits, accessibility, and portability. Simply requiring each employer to provide healthcare will not get us there. Rather, Congress and the President need to craft the next steps in getting to national healthcare. A single payer system, like Medicare for all, that is subsidized by employers, with payments proportionate to size and revenues (without the inevitable loopholes), is the way to go. Is it possible that the corona virus this year will trigger serious discussions on how we finally get to national healthcare for all in our country?
Gerd (Texas)
As a visitor from Germany, my general impression of America is: - survival of the fittest - understaffed public services - very little solidarity among people (see the huge number of homeless people) - everyone gets a gun and cares for himself (okay, that might be a Texan thing) - Overwhelming healthcare costs ($8,000 for a simple Xray and the like) - business, business, business, and then somewhere at the end of the line, the people Taking all this into account, all of it being part of the program of Mr. Trump, who is obviously supported by a majority of the people, it’s no real surprise that there is no paid sick leave. I doubt that even this crisis will change the thinking of the US citizens. After 8 months in the US, I can really appreciate all the things that are good about Germany, and which we take for granted in normal times.
William Perrigo (U.S. Citizen) (Germany)
I agree to a large extent. Of course, Germany is not perfect and has had its share of slime-balls cheating the system too. When the wall came down, there were government incentives for West German companies to invest in the Eastern part of Germany. More than a few just closed shop in the west moving production to the east, taking the tax breaks and all the jobs away from the west and, of course, even though that has happened in some cases, the Eastern part is still behind in job creation and angry that a red carpet is rolled out to the people fleeing world war and terror, but villages at home just get talk, talk, talk. Life is not easy, but yes, it’s true, there is no added fee for an x-ray, it’s covered by insurance. I know, because I just had one.
josh (detroit)
Even in context of an unprecedented pandemic our government has chosen corporate profits over the common good. We must get money out of politics now, and reclaim our government from the clutches of lobbyists and corporate donors. Our very lives and dignity at a people depend on it.
Patrick Stevens (MN)
I need a full list of national companies who don't offer at least 10 days of sick leave each year to their employees. We must avoid these retailers to control this virus and other communicable diseases.
JCAZ (Arizona)
@ Patrick Stephens - thankfully, some states have stepped in to fill the gap. Amazingly, Arizona passed legislation a few years ago giving part time workers paid sick time. Still not enough.
elotrolado (central coastal california)
Thank you NYT for calling out by name those companies who deny basic, paid sick leave to their employees. This is one of many benefits that should be a guaranteed right of workers in a wealthy and "civilized" nation. It should be paid for by a combined contribution from companies and the government as part of our safety net for the common good. We can thank unions for originally fighting for this coverage many decades ago. The silver lining in this pandemic is that we are cleansing the opaque lens of American exceptionalism and what is being undeniably revealed is both how we are all connected, and how a few have enormous privelidge and power.
Vanman (down state ill)
Has the benefit of protection offered by a union 'umbrella' been adequately demonstrated? Health and safety have long been cornerstones of that voice, who's strength was by their number thus better represented. Unions were vilified by corporate elite and their pawns, ie, bankers, politicians and other vultures, as the cause of inflation. The demise of unions was one of the first steps taken by the privileged in the class war leading to a disparate pay scale,a step away from the time when America was last great. Those elite often equated unions and the protection they provided with socialism. Our government now is expected to provide that same protection. Is it still socialism?
jen (East Lansing, MI)
Thank you for this illuminating graphic. Would it be possible to generate a similar graphic showing the companies that have paid sick leave in practice (not just on the books - which could be all smoke and mirrors). I would like to avoid all the companies in this graphic, but our lives are so enmeshed with these companies that I need some help thinking of alternatives.
Prof. Jai Prakash Sharma (Jaipur, India.)
It will require a big jolt before the companies realise the harsh reality that a healthy and happy work force delivers better productivity and profits than what the employers squeeze out of the drudgery from the sick and tired workers. The paid sick leave for the sick workers is a win-win proposition for both the worker and the employer, and what better opportune time could be than the current coronavirus crisis to make a start?
fishoutawater (Nashville)
I work at Whole Foods. It was announced at store meeting Amazon would pay for 2 week sick leave if coronvirus was diagnosed. We are allowed 5 missed days every 6 months. I do wonder about the 5, 6, 7, or whatever, days we miss before we are diagnosed?
Rose (Seattle)
@fishoutawater : Wow. Many people are sick with coronavirus for longer than 2 weeks. And since people are infectious for up to a couple of weeks after they are "recovered", people need a lot more time than that off!
VKilpatrick (NOLA)
Corporate decency or the lack of it in the US is being looked at more closely-- a silver lining to this COVID-19 pandemic. Good work, NYTimes. From what is presented here, it is obvious that there is one critical public health measure that could mitigate the spread of disease : paid sick leave -- sick leave that can actually be used. The lesson for companies that do not provide - and ensure the use of -- paid sick leave, is not going to sink in unless the public/government puts pressure on them. They just cannot get it through their thick bean-counting skulls that doing the right thing matters.
Brez (Spring Hill, TN)
@VKilpatrick "Company decency" is an oxymoron.
VKilpatrick (NOLA)
@Brez Sadly true.
The customers better get ready for more costly takeout/drive-through meal prices immediately. Sick days are expensive.
Bruce S (Henderson, NV)
@NOTATE REDMOND How expensive will it be , when no one comes to your restaurant?
@NOTATE REDMOND You are wrong . Sick days are much less expensive than hospital days for dozens of contaminated people due to one sick worker continuing his job .And pretty soon you will not be able to go buy take out food or to the drive through .
Kathy (North Dakota)
@NOTATE REDMOND This article just said sick days are NOT expensive - about 2.7 cents per hour of paid work.
KateW (Ohio)
Marcs grocery stores here in ohio can be added to this list. No paid sick leave if we get quarantined, so we all just plan on working even if we get sick. None of us can afford the time off, so were just gonna try to hide it if we catch anything. Not much else we can do!
Practical Thoughts (East Coast)
The STATES and local governments can pass their own laws regarding minimum wage and benefits. Why won’t they simply pass the legislation? The federal government is run by people from Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas. You are not going to get anything but retrograde policies that seek to make the country look like Alabama or North Dakota. Again, why doesn’t Vermont pass free in state tuition at the University of Vermont? Why won’t New York implement $25 minimum wage? Why won’t California mandate affordable housing be built through eminent domain if necessary. Stop using the confederate US Senate as an excuse for inaction.
Brez (Spring Hill, TN)
@Practical Thoughts Q. "Why won’t they simply pass the legislation?" A. Republicans. Solution: VOTE!
Suzanne (Colorado)
@Practical Thoughts Agreed! I am happy to live in Colorado. While in the 70's I was glad for the Federal government passing the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, now I find myself glad for State's rights. Colorado has been looking at how to provide single payer insurance and has made progress on living wages. Still we have issues. And we need to protect the right to abortion. But I believe that we will do so.
Matt (Oakland, CA)
I don’t disagree with paid sick leave, but this mass crisis is not the time to focus on it. Many business are simply worrying about surviving. No customers no cash flow. Get real.
Patricia (Tempe AZ via Philadelphia PA)
@Matt NOPE. This is precisely the time in which these companies need to take a hard look at their policies - pass along contagion to their customers/clients - or acquiesce to paid sick leave. Do you not remember (if not in experience but through valid history?) that, not all that long ago, companies were permitted to demand six and a half days of work - no vacation, only Christmas Day and Easter Day off(and mostly without pay)? (Hint: this was not all "more than a century ago") Bottom line: do you want those worked to stay home and get well - to come back to work? Or would you rather they "soldier on" and infect every other employee and a few customers along the way? You see, it sorta kinda becomes "pick one."
Matt (Oakland, CA)
@Patricia People have difficulty framing this crisis. This is not just a couple people staying home. When you talk about some of the businesses, their entire operations are slowing or shutting down. They need to survive. I can see your location matters. I am in the Bay Area. When I see all these local business missing customers or shut altogether, I am not asking them to spend more. Now is the time?? This is a crisis. This the one place government should stand up and have a way to respond in a more centralized fashion.
Steve (Idaho)
@Matt if their customers get Coronavirus from a sick employee who can't afford to stay home we will see how long they survive after that.
nom de guerre (Kirkwood, MO)
And there are the multitudes of workers for companies that don't show up on this chart at all because their employees are considered independent contractors, such as lyft, uber, task rabbit, etc. as well as the drivers and third party sellers on Amazon.
sharon (worcester county, ma)
@nom de guerre Third party sellers on Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and such are self employed. These companies offer platforms to sell on. They don't employ you. This is no different than having your own website, except you get far more exposure on Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, etc.
Michael A (California)
What doesn't come as a surprise are some of the companies shown in the bubble display that want exceptions of Federal regulation due to religious beliefs. Yet, their apparently religion doesn't seem to want them to provide for their workers (and by extension their customers) something as simple as paid sick leave. No doubt this would leave them with fewer profits for which they then will claim they are 'doing good.' Little doubt these organizations would probably respond with line 'there is no room at my inn,' for those of you familiar with the parable.
TheraP (Midwest)
Regardless of where paid sick leave and medical benefits are now, I predict that the nation will suddenly realize both are necessary, not just for the individuals who will benefit directly but for the entire society. To protect all of us, we must protect every single individual within this nation. Otherwise we are like people in a lifeboat, who refuse to take on others struggling in the water or even to build more life boats. Everyone deserves a seat in a lifeboat. And we citizens have to make that happen! Though our Congress and our States. This is becoming mandatory.
Richard Hahn (Erie, PA)
@TheraP Your lifeboat analogy stole the thunder of my comment, and I thank you. My plea also is for having no more convenience only for first class passengers (read: the ultra-rich).
Patricia (Tempe AZ via Philadelphia PA)
@TheraP Alas! We live in a nation that (almost always) wants to decides who can sit in the lifeboat. Because, you know... finite seating available.
zauhar (Philadelphia)
I have somewhere read the suggestion that the federal government require all places of business to prominently display a notice on entrances if they do not provide paid sick leave. While a nationwide policy on sick days would be preferable, requiring such notices would at least warn customers which businesses value profits over their employees - and their customers.
Sm (New Jersey)
@zauhar I'll look for that article. I think that's a great suggestion! 100% transparency that if you walk into a business (or use the drive-thru) you may get sick.
Eugene Debs (Denver)
New York Times, this is a great editorial, and yet you oppose Bernie Sanders, who has fought for years to make things better for American workers and society and who will make a great president.
Herr Fischer (Brooklyn)
@Eugene Debs If we redid the primaries now, Bernie would be the clear winner. By wide margins.
Patricia (Tempe AZ via Philadelphia PA)
@Herr Fischer You vastly underestimate the ill will Bernie and his little "bros" have engendered. He's never been one to think "building fences" had any value (and, for those of you unfamiliar with the reference, this is NOT about some idiotic "border wall.')
Mike Kelly (Bainbridge Island, WA)
Doubt it..and there are still primaries to prove or disprove your point. This is a flight to experience and Biden — despite his flaws — has the “been there, done that” experience people see as so sadly missing in the current clown show.
Valerie (Toronto)
This is when Andrew Yang's $1000 dividend makes sense. Generally, I think that is bad policy - the state could offer way more to citizens if it spent that money on things of collective benefit: education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But in this case, it strikes me as a good idea that is more efficient than other options. Just give everyone a one-time $1000 as a way to quickly get financial help to those who need it. Those who don't need it could be gently encouraged to either give it to someone they know who does, to charity, or just to spend it frivolously to help businesses who lost income when everything closed. I'm Canadian, so I'm mostly thinking that the Canadian government who claims they are "in the enviable position of having money to spend" should do this. But it's essentially Yang's idea, narrowed to just a one-time solution to an extraordinary circumstance.
Sm (New Jersey)
@Valerie Just an fyi, Andrew Yang did not come up with the idea for the UBI, he just took the idea and gave it a new name, made it popular.
Nyma S (San Francisco)
I am quite perplexed at the fact body workers such as acupuncture doctors, massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and flexologists at the franchise Stretch Lab are still working. My partner works in this industry and I’m told that clients are still coming to appointments. Staff are not using gloves or wearing masks because they don’t want to freak out clientele. How is it that my school gets shut down and moves online whereas body workers are still on the front lines maintaining close contact with people? Why are people in this industry not stopping non-essential contact? It’s very perplexing.
Steve (Idaho)
@Nyma S in theory these workers already practice enhanced sanitary cleanliness techniques and they likely need the money. Although you are most likely correct that it would be best to stop but its hard to see how they could afford it.
Quantummess (Princeton)
It’s high time we acknowledged that unchecked capitalism has failed.... similar to how we now easily accept that communism has failed. We have plenty of evidence all around us that profit above all else is profitable for only a select few and puts the rest of us at great risk in many and various ways. For my part, I try to support local businesses who treat their employees well or grocery chains like Trader Joe’s. Also when the employees are happy, the customer gets better service. So it’s win win.
Danny (Bx)
Looks like we need a change in our franchise laws both at state and federal levels. This, oh their just high school kids doesn't really fly anymore. I see a lot of middle age women and immigrants with high school students lining up to be served.
Jean W. Griffith (Planet Earth)
To those managing this health care crisis, the people working in foodservice and the restaurant trade have not been factored in to this covid-19 epidemic. One infected worker has the potential to infect a thousand unsuspecting customers. Thank you New York Times for drawing the dilemma of sick workers to the attention of employers and state and local governments.
Moritz K (Cologne, Germany)
Companies like McDonalds and Burger King exploit its staff, the environment and the health of the customers. Business models like this should be forced to cover the costs they produce. Sustainable concepts do exist and are profitable (e.g. Aldi) but change will only be possible if customers AND employees unite and - looking at it from a European point of view- it won’t happen under your current POTUS
Penn (Pennsylvania)
@Moritz K Aldi is in the infographic as a company with enough workers without paid sick leave that it registered a bubble. So Aldi needs to up its game as well.
Tom Loredo (Ithaca, NY)
At the very least, surely both sides in congress should be able to agree that sick leave policies should be made public. “Between us and our associates” should be a response to the question of sick leave that we never hear again.
Richard Hahn (Erie, PA)
@Tom Loredo With rapacious Republicans still in control of the Senate (and some corporate Democrats along with them)?? It is to laugh.
Sean O'Brien (Sacramento)
My question is, why did Pelosi and dems fold on this? It would have been obvious who cared for the people and who didn't if the democrats had simply remained firm and let republicans to explain themselves.
Richard Hahn (Erie, PA)
@Sean O'Brien It's corporate and establishment Democrats still trying to negotiate a compromise with rapacious Republicans. I will still keep up hopes for Sanders and his humane and compassionate--and sensible!--policies and plans.
New Jerseyan (Bergen)
@Sean O'Brien Because we are out of time.
Steve (Idaho)
@Sean O'Brien the concern was the people would go to work sick if something wasn't done immediately and help spread the epidemic. I agree though that something needs to be done to force the Republican senators to explain why they won't cover the vast majority of American workers. Now that at least something has been done they could introduce a second bill to cover the rest and force the Republicans to admit publicly that they oppose helping working people. Don't kid yourself though, Republicans and the people who voted them in did so specifically to hurt people. There isn't a mean spirited policy they won't support.
Fintan (CA)
It is interesting to see how many of these are fast food or retail chains. These workers are of course exactly the ones we need to stay home if they feel sick. But our economic system plays into this. With stock market expectations for ever-rising profits, and consumer demand for ever-lower prices, companies with large labor forces have few options but to trim wage and benefit costs to meet both. This is one of those cases where the wellbeing of citizens is not best served by “markets” as the sole governing philosophy.
Patricia (Tempe AZ via Philadelphia PA)
@Fintan Duh. Because Ms. Pelosi and her caucus are beings who have ample room in their bodies for a heart. Their intent is to govern with intellect AND heart....the GOP? Eh. Not so much. They believe they have a "bottom line" to "protect," for some reason.
Lalo (New York City)
"Companies that do not pay sick workers to stay home are endangering their workers, their customers and the health of the broader public." I'm sick, but I need to work to pay my bills, so I go to work. What more can anybody say?
Steve (Idaho)
@Lalo How is this not a Time's Pick? It could not be summed up any better and it is vitally important to be said this clearly.
F.Douglas Stephenson, LCSW, BCD (Gainesville, Florida)
Even with the dangerous and burgeoning coronavirus(Covid-19) pandemic, big insurance and big pharma still oppose legislation for the new Medicare for All (HR-1384/S-1129). These resistant, self-serving industries have the most to lose if their huge profits are redirected to direct patient care for all. Individual and corporate predators regard democracy, government, community as obstacles to their greed and avarice, always placing profits over individual patients, families and public health. It’s no wonder so many beholden members of Congress want to protect the interests of big insurance and big pharma, industries who spent $371 million on lobbying in 2017 alone. These industries always seek to lock us into an obsolete private insurance-based model that holds everyones health hostage to profiteering HMOs and unaccountable big insurance companies for years to come. For proponents of political expediency, the question remains, who will be lost while profiteering continues and basic principles of public health are rejected. Every year, well over 18,000 unnecessary deaths, the equivalent of six times the number who died in the September 11 attacks, are linked to lack of health insurance coverage. Pandemics can quickly increase these numbers. Let’s end inadequate, dangerous and costly private health insurance programs. Insist on real health insurance reform essential for individuals and families. Ask legislators to fully support Medicare For All now: HR-1384/S-1129.
Richard Hahn (Erie, PA)
@F.Douglas Stephenson, LCSW, BCD Thank you so much! I couldn't have put it better myself.
Norman (NYC)
@F.Douglas Stephenson, LCSW, BCD I note that you are a licensed certified social worker (LCSW). I keep telling my LCSW friends that the National Association of Social Workers, and their journal Social Work, keeps telling social workers that they have a professional responsibility to inform themselves about public affairs, and that they have a professional responsibility to advocate on behalf of their clients in government policy. Rather than getting into losing battles with bureaucrats over work requirements for food stamps or Medicaid, change the laws to eliminate work requirements.
F.Douglas Stephenson, LCSW, BCD (Gainesville, Florida)
@Norman Agreed! Go to the root and work hard for new M4A law. Cheers! FDS.
Dick (NYC)
If only there was a presidential candidate that's been fighting for workers rights and single-payer healthcare for the last 40 years!
Norman (NYC)
@Dick I sure can't think of anybody like that.
Robert Harvey (New York)
@Dick His name is Bernie Sanders.
Barbara Greenhill (Richmond, CA)
If there only would be someone who demands sweeping changes whom the DNC supports
Robert (Warsaw)
This is also failure of leadership of Democratic party. Nancy Pelosi caving to not only Republican but most likely to some unnamed Democrats who also are corrupted and want to protect Big corporations intrest.
New Jerseyan (Bergen)
@Robert She had a choice - insist on protecting everyone and actually protect no one, with a clock ticking - or take the best deal she could actually negotiate and then apply pressure to get the rest. Let's stay in the real world please.
Robert (Warsaw)
@New Jerseyan No she could done the right thing and then exercise giant public pressure on Republicans with public opinion on her side. They would either cave in or bascily forfeit the election. This was 100% winnable. She didn't do that because in reality there where also some Democrats that wanted to protect corporate intrest. She should expose them because some off the could still be voted out in primary. Instead she achieved almost nothing and helped protect crooked Republicans and Democrats insuring more defeats like that in the future. And I'm pretty sure that was the desired outcome.
Patricia (Tempe AZ via Philadelphia PA)
@Robert Could you please post the location of the alternate universe you apparently occupy?
jfdenver (Denver)
When I worked at the Manhattan DA's Office in the 1980's, out sick leave policy was that if you were sick, you did not come to work--no counting hours or days. We were mostly young and healthy. In the eight years I worked there, I know of only one person who abused the policy, and his boss started requiring a doctor's note. If you had surgery or got really sick, you got whatever time off the doctor recommended, paid.
Alan MacDonald (Wells, Maine)
I was beginning to wonder where the "Times" went on the issue for saving 'we the people' vs. saving the Wall Street crooks. There is an article in Sunday's "Times" on whether "It Has Gone All to Hell" for business (or Wall Street), or whether it has gone all to hell for average Americans. The diagnosis is very disheartening if we could look at a bar chart of the $1.5 Trillion that Emperor Trump bullied Powell into committing the FED to open its vaults for vs. the few billion that this compassionate Emperor (and the Disguised Global Crony Capitalist Empire, which put him in command), has been thinking about average and poor Americans are (literally) dying for help. I'm hoping that the "Times" excellent investigative reporters and graphic artists can put together an easily visible comparison of the support that is going to the financial Empire compares to the assistance going to 'we the American people' are seeing from what they believed was their (little 'd') democracy. As Bernie might say tonight: "Our Revolution" TO DUMP EMPEROR TRUMP and on the other side of the demonstration signs: GET 'WOKE' & 'FOLK' THE EMPIRE As Howard Zinn famously said, "You can't be neutral on a moving train" (or an advancing Covid-45) And as I say, "There is no compromise between Empire and democracy".
Richard Hahn (Erie, PA)
@Alan MacDonald Thank you so much!
See also