Issue Brief
America’s Workers Must Have Paid Sick Days and Paid Leave to Open the Economy Safely

May 2020
Paid Sick Days

Urgent: Your right to emergency paid leave and paid sick days has expired. Take action right now to insist Congress reinstates these provisions and provides emergency leave for all working people.

Please be aware that the resources below reflect rights and protections available prior to Jan. 1, 2021 that are no longer guaranteed.

Gaps in newly-enacted federal coronavirus legislation leave up to 106 million workers nationwide without emergency leave protections, with women and workers of color more likely to be affected.

When workers don’t have paid sick days, they are more likely to go to work sick, putting their own health and the public at risk. But universal paid sick days can reduce the spread of flu-like illness up to 40 percent during a major wave. The economy cannot be re-opened safely without ensuring that all workers have paid sick days and paid leave to care for their health and their families. Tell Congress that it’s time to pass the PAID Leave Act to guarantee all working people have paid sick days and paid family and medical leave to protect themselves, care for their families and help prevent future waves of the coronavirus.

How Do Gaps in Emergency Leave Affect Your State?

Click on a state to see how many workers could be affected by gaps in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and learn more about frontline workers in that state.

Due to exemptions sought by special interests, workers at employers with 500 or more employees are not covered by the law. Workers who are health care providers or emergency responders can be exempted by their employers, and employers with fewer than 50 employees can opt out of requirements to provide paid sick days and paid leave for child care.

Learn more about paid sick days, paid leave and rights you may have to emergency benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sources: Center for American Progress analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, Statistics of U.S. Businesses, 2017. Center for Economic and Policy Research analysis of American Community Survey, 2014-2018. National Partnership for Women & Families calculations of overrepresentation by workers of color based on Center for Economic and Policy Research analysis. These represent the most recent available data and approximate conditions in early 2020. Estimates of the labor force and employment that reflect increasingly unemployment due to the pandemic were not yet available as of April 2020.