As the number of coronavirus cases in the United States passes 1,300 cases with 38 deaths, more than 30 million workers lack access to paid sick leave. President Trump addressed the nation Wednesday night, saying he will expand sick leave as part of emergency response to the virus. But the same day, Republican senators blocked an attempt by Senate Democrats to quickly pass legislation requiring employers to grant paid sick leave. Meanwhile, Democrats in the House of Representatives will debate a package of bills Thursday to give workers 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave. Labor Department data says that one in four workers have no access to paid sick leave, including two-thirds of lowest earners. The U.S. is one of the only wealthy countries that does not require employers to offer its workers paid sick leave. We speak with Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute; Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union; and economist Robert Pollin, co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
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