At the very core of the American soul is the idea of being a hard worker. But it’s a double-edged sword. If you want get paid for your job, you have to show up to work regardless of how you feel. Even if some states require employers to offer paid sick leave, there’s no federal law mandating it in the US.

The low-paid workers are hit the worst, and this is especially true for the service industry. When it comes to the potential for coronavirus to spread in the US, this fact alone could be an undetected fatal error. Writer Lauren Hough shared an unsettling glimpse into getting sick as a bartender: “we called it bar flu because everyone had it and passed it back and forth.” In the context of the COVID-19 threat, one can imagine how flawed sick leave policy could make matters dramatically worse.

One has to learn from lessons like this, but is it too late to change something just now? Let’s dive into this discussion together.

Image credits: shopblocks (not the actual photo)

This woman pointed out that service workers have no option but to keep working while they’re sick

Image credits: laurenthehough

Image credits: laurenthehough

Image credits: laurenthehough

Image credits: laurenthehough

Lauren expressed her disappointment over the service industry practice of firing workers who call in sick

Image credits: laurenthehough

Image credits: laurenthehough

Image credits: laurenthehough

Image credits: laurenthehough

Another Twitter user declared that the sick leave policy has been flawed the whole time, but coronavirus has made it obvious

Image credits: AnandWrites

US health agencies have warned Americans that in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, people have to take these seemingly basic steps: wash hands, stay home from work if symptoms appear, and consult your doctor. But for these people whose work requires their presence—think about restaurants and bars, shops, and warehouses—working from home is not an option.

Sarah Evans, an employment expert, claims that “for a small company, having an unproductive member of staff sitting at home doing nothing on full pay will be a huge burden.” Vice versa, the competitive job market pushes the worker to the limit, since there’s always the risk of losing their job. And for many, this scenario sounds worse than handling food or serving customers while ill.

Image credits: AnandWrites

Image credits: AnandWrites

Anand shared an idea of a TV show that would expose what role society’s least insured play in the health of others

Image credits: AnandWrites

Image credits: AnandWrites

Image credits: AnandWrites

The high cost of health care and the lack of paid sick days suggest that there has to be a systematic change to control the coronavirus. David Blumenthal, president of the global health think tank the Commonwealth Fund, expressed his concern: “People with acute illness of all kinds postpone healthcare when they lack health insurance or have high deductibles.” He added that “there’s no reason to expect people with symptoms of an upper respiratory infection would not do the same.” A simple blood test sample can set you back $167 in Brooklyn and that is self-explanatory.

Yet another person shared his personal experience of working in the fast-food business

Image credits: NomeDaBarbarian

Image credits: NomeDaBarbarian

More people joined the heated discussion

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This is what people had to say