The Companies Putting Profits Ahead of Public Health

As the coronavirus spreads, the public interest requires employers to abandon their longstanding resistance to paid sick leave.

Comments: 229

  1. There is no better context for understanding the need for Medicare for All than a pandemic. Unless we all have access to to top quality health care, we are all at risk. The fight against M4A is nothing but a fight to keep profits paramount.

  2. @Ed Watters Short term profits, not long term.

  3. @Ed Watters ... I agree that Universal Health Care is necessary, but what difference would it make to the individuals in this study and to the millions of people those individuals contact? Not a blessed thing when the bottom line spouted is: If you don't work, you don't get paid. All the free health care in the world would have zero effect. I know. I am one of those people who has health insurance, but no paid sick leave.

  4. That's why I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Michigan primary. I was told Medicare for all was unrealistic by my elders. Those same elders are now terrified of the consequences of denying health care to a large portion of the population. They will reap what they have sowed.

  5. Agree! Also why don't restaurants pay their servers an adequate wage? We need to abolish the archaic practice of tipping, which originally meant, "to insure promptness." Why should the customer have to subsidize server's wages? This practice isn't in European countries. Zazie's restaurant in San Francisco pays it's workers well and I'm sure they have sick leave also. If a customer wants to tip for good service, it's optional. Very popular.

  6. @Loretta Marjorie Chardin Agreed. Why should the customer have to subsidize server's wages? I am tempted to stop tipping. Leave a note on the tab asking the owners to pay their servers a living wage with paid sick leave and health benefits. Why not?

  7. @Loretta Marjorie Chardin /Sort of aloong these same lines is the new practice of self-checkout. So paying customers get to do the work of a paid employee and also expose themselves to the risk of germy touch screens and surfaces. My thinking is that self-checkout should at least come with a substantial discount in the price of the goods purchased. But, again, the little people pay and risk their health and businesses don't have to worry about sick leave when they've elminated the workers entirely.

  8. So now testing for the virus is free, but treatment isn’t? The government caved AGAIN to pressures from the insurance industry, even though Katie Porter got a promise from a government official to use his power to make treatment free. How are workers who don’t have an extra $400 to shell out supposed to not work with no pay and pay for treatment? If companies don’t have workers, who’s going to do the work for them? Trump?

  9. You’d think that with the massive corporate tax break given to Fortune 500 companies by the Trumpo administration its GOP sycophants in the Congress that paid sick leave would have been an easy reach for the businesses listed on the chart had they had the best interests of their worker bees at heart. Instead of stock buy backs, dividend increases and top management bonuses there could have been a real trickle down in employee benefits to encourage sick employees not to come to work. Unfortunately sick employees at these companies now have a choice between what’s doing best for their coworkers and customers, and paying the rent. I live one mile from a Sams Club and 8 miles from a Costco in Durham. I shop at Costco because it pays their employees a living wage and has health benefits among others. Maybe it’s finally time for insatiable greed not to be the coin of the realm for the corporations who could easily afford to pay for sick leave but don’t. Maybe it’s time for folks who care about corporate ethics and their fellow man to stop doing business with those corporations until they do.

  10. @winthropo muchacho If we take your advice, we will starve, freeze in the winter, swelter in the summer, become ill, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. The government must enact mandatory insurance to cover paid sick leave. Yes, companies would have to pay for that and pay for healthcare in general. That is the only way a company will do that. And they also must cover people who work less than 40 hours a week.

  11. @winthropo muchacho I do the same thing you do, neighbor. Costco is a good employer and a good corporate citizen. I'm happy to support them. Even though we have a Walmart here in Hillsborough, I gladly go to the Costco in Durham.

  12. @John OBrienj Your first sentence is confounding. Why ever would you think that?

  13. Neither being able to receive medical care or being paid sick leave should be determined by who one happens to work for. These things should be provided by the government in a manner that is far and equitable, and paid for with taxes. All other proposals are just beating around the bush.

  14. @Jay Orchard I like this idea, if the company is paying their fair share of taxes, then nothing to worry about. We don't need fancy lawyers finding loopholes and exploiting the cracks in the system in order to take the profit and let the rest of us pay more than we need to in order.

  15. I am saddened to see the virus efficiently exploit the divisions in our society and create chaos. The juxtaposition of some US CEOs going out of their way to make sure their Chinese employees are employed during the crisis versus other CEOs doing these things only deepens these divisions amongst Americans.

  16. @Linus I'm saddened not to see the real evil in these companies hoarding wealth while exploiting workers and their families until collapsation. A CEO is nothing without the workers, a company is nothing without the buyers, time for buyers to vote with their wallets and support small, fair, ethical businesses.

  17. Thank you for this information. It will be powerful in the coming weeks,months and years for those of us who put or money where our values lie.

  18. I've been hunkered down with the "best people" supplied to lead us by Trump and the Trumpists. We've come up with a brilliant plan to fight coronavirus and take care of workers and citizens - Tax CUTS FOR THE RICH! It works so well for everything else , right?!

  19. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that many of the business that provide sick leave to their workers are unionized. I know Stop&Shop workers have union representation, and Giant as well I think. How many others?

  20. Interesting. Not surprised the fast food sector is by far the worst offender. Perhaps we could unilaterally suspend their drive-thru privileges until they come up with a solution that does not involve externalizing this cost of business onto society.

  21. The title of this column is all you need to read. Profits over people is the American way. Even if it means killing us.

  22. @Gaston Corteau The difficult job of governments is to combat human nature. Yes, humans show love and caring, but we are a selfish species. Human history is a neverending drama of good vs.evil. Good people do evil things and evil people sometrue do good things.

  23. People create misery. People can stop it.

  24. Boycott these companies until they show some human decency.

  25. And boycott the Pelosi team too. And of course the Republicans. We need sweeping changes.

  26. @Judy Sure, boycott these companies and put the people that work for them in a worse position. If your lucky maybe everyone will lose their jobs. That's human decency.

  27. The sheer amount double-think the Times is capable of never ceases to amaze me. Spend the entire primary cycle trashing Bernie, lifelong advocate for the working class who fights for paid sick leave and universal health care with every breath, then publish an op-ed championing his exact policy positions? You’re not fooling anyone.

  28. @ME Amen.

  29. @ME They endorsed Warren as the best advocate for those policies with w record for getting things done. That's not double think.

  30. @Aurora They couldn't go all the way though, they endorsed Warren AND Klobuchar who is far further right than either Warren or Sanders.

  31. I will permanently boycott all these selfish companies putting our health at risk. They don’t deserve to exist.

  32. Time for “progressives” to offer some form of compensation to their nannies, housekeepers, gardeners....never mind paying social security. Oh the hypocrisy of it all.

  33. Speak for yourself. Why do you assume ‘progressives’ don’t provide benefits to their staff? No more or less than anybody else. Sheesh.

  34. We were founded on laissez faire and profits. Unless you want the commie model, profits pay for everything! Labor is no different than a ton of core with a cost the you try to minimize. Get over it, profits are here to stay unless you kill off stock ownership of corporations!

  35. @Douglas Klein Apparently, you view labor as a commodity. Many of us view labor as people who deserve to be able to live a decent life.

  36. @Douglas Klein Don't want to lecture you on economics, but profits are what are left over after expenses, and benefits like sick leave are an expense. Where the problem begins is that far too many companies (and all the publicly held ones) put shareholder income before the employees who make that profit possible. You did read the article, correct? Studies show that paid sick leave only costs 2.7 cents per hour per employee. The only way that's going to break the proverbial bank is if a shareholder's income is more important than the employee making that income available.

  37. "Chipotle said in a statement that its sick leave policy is the best in the fast-food industry,...." Sickened by this I am, I am.....

  38. How can you ever pay out grossly inappropriate sums to your investors and CEO's if you go around coddling your line troops?

  39. @Stuart Smith I think you mean abusing. But investors and CEOs are paid grossly inappropriate sums precisely because their willing to abuse their line troops. Sociopathy is a desirable trait on Wall Street.

  40. All US businesses should have to post a prominent sign at the entrance that says either,"When our employees get sick and stay home, we don't pay them." OR "When our employees get sick and stay home we pay them." This should also be posted in headline size type on the top of the home page, if the business has a web site.

  41. A government policy that favors putting pressure on people to show up for work when they or sick or had been exposed to infectious disease that might be spread to coworkers and/or the public is not a very good one. It's penny wise and pound foolish. Knowing that your food is either prepared by or packaged by someone who chose to go to work instead of staying home makes the public policy that allows employers to deprive their employees of their wages if they do the right thing, seem very very foolish, in my humble opinion.

  42. Amazon's doing pretty well. I'll stick with them.

  43. And if the companies whose budgets don't allow for paid sick leave do this and come out of this pandemic bankrupt?

  44. @Alan Let's face it. It needs to be included in a company's budget as a normal part of payroll costs. If it means a slight rise in the price of its goods, so be it. Everyone will be in the same boat, so it wouldn't impact that business's competitiveness with others in the same market. Here's a thought: advocate for universal health coverage, which would lower the overall cost of doing business. Some of that savings could be directed towards providing basic benefits to all employees.

  45. @Kent Miller Universal health coverage doesn't lower the cost of doing business, it just pays for it differently. Instead of an employer paying for coverage they pay taxes that pay for the coverage. Including the government in the process likely raises the cost of health coverage.

  46. @Alan Every study that's been done, every comparison with other developed nations, suggests the exact opposite of your claim - the cost per capita will decline. Accordingly, the additional cost a business (or individual, for that matter) will incur in higher taxes will almost assuredly be offset by no longer having to pay directly for insurance, and then some. Besides, US corporations just got a 40% reduction in their basic tax rates (from 35% to 21%). Maybe they can use some of these savings to provide health care and paid sick leave for their employees, rather than pocketing the savings themselves. After all, isn't that what "trickle down economics" is supposed to do?

  47. H.R.6201 ought to be the permanent law of the land. We should not have to go through these insane gyrations whenever there is a nationwide public health emergency. It's time we followed the lead of the rest of the industrialized world. My God, we are even behind some third-world countries. We are way behind South Korea. When the Democrats run the table next fall, they will finally, finally get it done. That point should be hammered home tonight by both Sanders and Biden. The large majority of Americans will be behind them. It's time to rally the entire country. This moment has the potential to indeliby frame the stark differences between our two major parties. Will the candidates seize the opportunity?

  48. When a retail business doesn't provide paid sick leave, its employees are much more likely to go to work even if they don't feel well. Potential customers might want to avoid these companies. You know, like the plague.

  49. Where is Amazon on this issue? These corporate giants, who have so much financial advantage and insulation MUST step up and take care of the people who make their huge profits possible.

  50. With the exceptions of Marriott, Holiday Inn, and possibly Walgreens and Macy’s, the companies in this list operate at low profit margins. That is one reason for fewer benefits, but not a good reason. It would be interesting to have another column listing executive compensation at each of these companies. Rather than raising prices to fund deserved employee benefits, thereby risking business and shareholder value, cuts to executive compensation and benefits need to be on the table.

  51. @Dee comparing it to my country Germany, the highest paid executive makes 15 mio USD CEOs of big companies earn 3 Mio up to 5 Mio. these are the top dogs and as far as i can see, any executive from a US listed firm would laugh out on that, how little it is. Exec compensation got out of hand from the 90ies on....

  52. @FOL If US corporate investors really wanted shareholder value, they should fire their CEOs and replace them with German CEOs who would be happy to do the job just as well, or better, for a fraction of the salary. I must concede that German managers sometimes put an excessive emphasis on quality, and on the welfare of their employees ...

  53. @Dee I think the profits at a lot of these companies are more than you think. That said I totally agree with reducing executive pay. It would be nice for example for Kroger employees to all get sick leave as opposed to paying Rodney McMullen 12,000,000 a year.

  54. "What happens when the next pandemic arrives?" By then, Democrats will be in control of government. We will have universal health care and better labor laws, including collective bargaining for pay and benefits. Once we force government to work for the people and not for the money -- with mandatory public campaign financing -- a new golden age will blossom. Amen.

  55. @Occupy Government You discount the role played in this scenario by the dozens of federalist society judges put in place by the conservative administration.

  56. @Occupy Government Wonderful! And I really like the "Occupy Government" label, too.

  57. Small New York restaurants have had trouble making the payroll after the minimum wage hike to $15. To expect a (very) small business owner to have enough savings to pay his workers to stay home while he cannot create an income for himself, is foolhardy. It just can't be done without help by the government, like in Western Europe.

  58. @Herr Fischer Agreed. Without government financial backing, many businesses would struggle to offer European scale sick time off. Also, and even higher barrier to starting a business would be created. The German system as I understand it, levies taxes paid into a fund for the specific purpose of paid sick leave across the economy. Seems like an idea worth investigating.

  59. @Herr Fischer This may be so, but look at the biggest circles: all huge companies. (Um, maybe a more useful chart would have been a *percentage* of total employees, not absolute numbers, which indeed are associated with larger companies.)

  60. Sick pay is essential for public health and so should not be the responsibility or prerogative of employers. There are some employers in as desperate straits as their employees and some employers cannot be trusted with the public welfare. Sick employees must be paid from a public account. As a taxpaper I would consider it money well spent. Of course there will be abuse but reasonable solutions can be found to contain the extent and severity of abuses. It is not necessary to completely eliminate them, and their inevitability is not a reasonable argument against such a program.

  61. @Stephen Boston Paid from the public account is fine with me too, but not enough people want their taxes raised to do so. The Federal government is not constrained by budget balancing requirements but states and localities are.

  62. @Thomas Too much is made of what people think other people want. If more people stood boldly for what they want and will accept then perhaps the world would become more what we want.

  63. Will the Democratic Senators have the backbone to insist that the companies pay sick days during the corona virus duration before the bill is enacted into law? Else, there should absolutely be NO financial relief of any sort for the companies. For too long, using the mantra of shareholders' returns, the corporations have gutted the workers' basic rights, specifically those in the bottom quartile of earnings.

  64. "Work and get paid or stay home and get stiffed." That's just plain false. Nobody is getting stiffed. The truth is "Work and get paid or stay home and not get paid." There's an argument to be made for free medical care. We already have disability pay and unemployment pay. But there is no plausible argument to equate not getting paid for staying home with getting stiffed.

  65. Unless it starts happening to you, family members and friends. Unless your forced stay at home ends up in you being fired and become one of the many working class Americans. And even more so when you have to get hospitalized and your insurance will say no to paying for your bills as they will always find a way to NOT pay. And then you to are moving toward an unwanted bankruptcy and then might have problems taking care of your family and you might be forced to move out of your home and possibly end up on the street as one of the new American homeless, not supported by any of your former employers for whom greed will always come first.

  66. This is interesting. While potentially a redirection, where is the airline industry? Many airline employees have no option besides going to work and then they are at high risk of exposure - frequency of contact and distance from others - thus endangering themselves, their families, and others. Ironically, their purpose is our safety. For the airlines, this workforce serves the purpose of the bottom line.

  67. Welcome to America's de facto criminal (pre ACA) health care system, an aberration re our peer countries. If we had a system like just about any one of them, pick em, we will not be in this mess depending on what type of company we work for whether we have insurance or not.

  68. McDonalds and other fast food companies worried about their bottom lines could shut down all locations except those with drive thru service to help reduce spread of the virus because otherwise they may have to close altogether and they will lose much more money.

  69. Companies considering expanded employee benefits worry that it may lead to higher prices and loss of market share and profits. This won’t happen if the benefits are extended industrywide. Most customers would be willing and happy to pay higher prices.

  70. @John Laxmi if they don't offer these benefits it could lead to a loss of the market entirely in the new circumstance. This is the classic short-sighted only seeing the downside never seeing the upside of the business world.

  71. Even if a company has a sick leave policy, the person who calls in sick too often (at least in management's opinion) might get fired. So workers, feeling pressure, will show up anyway. Such is our employer/employee system, which is need of an overhaul.

  72. @voxandreas Listen to this: For the past few years, School Boards have been monitoring student and teacher attendance. That's there NEW POLICY to raise test scores. Quote "if you have a fever, take a tylenol and come on into work." The Principal stated she sent her own children to school with fever after dosing them with a tylenol. If she does should you!

  73. Just to add to the mix This from Mt. Sinai hospital in the middle of a pandemic: At only $60 per consultation, connect with a doctor from anywhere with Mount Sinai NOW Video Urgent Care. Talk about price gauging.

  74. I would say that is relatively cheap. As with all Americans in this "free" country, once you reach a certain age your decent insurance you may have had for years, is suddenly taken from you or changed massively (& not for the better). Here's an example - what used to be a $25 co-pay is now $175.00 a visit. (Because the doc you like no longer works with Medicare/advantage /etc ins. Your "primary Care" doctor is basically nothing more than a consultation in this rigged system because they mostly do absolutely nothing anymore except act as a referral point to lead you deeper into the maze. But if you like the doctor and they spend lots of time on you, it cab be worth it. Try getting much face time or questions answered at your Doctors are Us giant medical scam center that functions only for the benefit of the Insurance company.

  75. The bottom line is that the fast food model for restaurants is essentially unsustainable unless you don't mind paying $15 or $20 (or more?) for your Big Mac. Yes, there should be at least a $15/hr minimum wage. Yes there should be paid sick leave. And yes, all of these employees should be getting 40 hours of work each week so they get health benefits. But to do so passes that cost onto the consumer. Personally, I don't think that's a problem. But it will essentially put these franchisees out of business because I'm not the typical McD's customer. But Walmart and other big box retailers? They simply have no excuse given the profits they are raking in. Their business model is purely exploitative. It's time for companies to put their employees on an equal footing with shareholders. Profit is great, but not at the expense of the health and well-being of workers.

  76. @Sabrina Analyses suggest that it does NOT pass most of the cost onto the consumer, because companies have other ways to absorb the cost. Some of these ways are not all that positive for workers, e.g. accelerating the trend toward automation, but this is going to happen anyway, you can count on it because we are already seeing it in action. The rise in the minimum wage in Seattle did not result in layoffs, but Seattle may be a special case.One study showed that raising the minimum wage would result in a 25 cent increase in the cost of a pizza. We can afford that, and more.

  77. @Thomas what are you talking about?I'm a small business owner in California. Every year the minimum wage increases we immediately increase costs, as do our competitors. I work in a city in the bay area with a higher than $15 minimum wage. It is $15 minimum to eat out for lunch at an order at the counter place. Also, not resulting in layoffs is expected when the economy is booming. However, there are studies showing a lower level of jobs being created than otherwise would be. And recessions will be rough, as we already see. There is little room to absorb a loss of revenue. If you truly believe that requiring employers to pay a high minimum wage and provide great benefits is not going to have any economic impact, why not raise the minimum wage to $50? I mean really. You can have a great quality of life if you make $50 an hour. According to you, no side effects right? Lastly, automation is expensive. Large companies can adapt. Small businesses have a hard time saving for those costs. @Sabrina is exactly right. The Democratic wish list will drive most small businesses out of business, with the exception of those catering to the wealthy. Only large companies could absorb those costs. It might be where we want to go as a country, but it's not okay to lie to ourselves about the trade-off.

  78. Americans eat too much and the fast food model is a health failure.

  79. Aldi's is cheaper even than Dollar Store on many products. Unfortunately, Aldi's and Costco are not close to where my mother lives and her perishables of preference are at her local Wal-Mart. If Aldi's and Costco can offer more favorable benefits and pay for their employees and better prices for their consumers, there is no excuse for the "businesses will go bankrupt" explanation.

  80. Appreciate this research and will direct my stock-buying funds into companies with fair business practices. In general, corporations need to offer more time off for vacation, sick days and holidays. Americans are exhausted and overworked, and our paychecks barely cover what we need anymore.

  81. Too bad it takes a pandemic for many to realize that the health and well being of the most vulnerable amongst us affects us all. Early medical intervention is a proven strategy in containing costs with better outcomes. What are we waiting for?

  82. A reminder that there is one candidate still in the running who is advocating medicare for all (universal health care) and paid sick leave for all Americans. Most Europeans have paid sick leave. Most developed countries have paid sick leave. We have the right to demand the same. Pelosi's house bill leaves out too many workers to address this crisis. This on top of Trump's failures is going to cost us deeply.

  83. This is not the time to impose new economic burdens on small businesses like restaurants who are reeling from the impact of the virus. If the primary beneficiary of a paid sick leave policy is the public, then let the public (government) pay the bill.

  84. The “government” is us. So you’re advocating for US taxpayers to subsidize companies who refuse to pay for employees sick days?

  85. wow! looks like Bernie knida knows what he's talking about, huh?

  86. @David It's never the time, is it. When have we heard that before...

  87. Thank you for this excellent article. Now I know which companies to boycott. I will not patronize these companies until I hear that they have effective paid sick leave policies.

  88. The lack of paid sick leave in the workforce is making national news now. The article focuses on the food and retail industries. But, pretty much, in any sector, if you are in a benefits ineligible job, there is no sick leave either. There are major employers, in my city, who will typically offer positions with hours just below the eligibility threshold for benefits. This is not just happening in retail and food service but also in universities, libraries, and other *public facing* jobs.

  89. This chart shows exactly why our economic system is broken: it's tilted entirely against workers. With the demise of unions, and the changes to tax laws, and anti-worker trade deals, the system is rigged to funnel wealth from the bottom to the top, and workers left with no power to stop or slow it. The message is: "Take it or leave it", and of course very few can afford to "leave it", so the system continues unchecked. This is what Bernie Sanders (and Liz Warren) have been talking about. How different would things look for us if we had MFA, free childcare, free tuition, revitalized unions, and both parties weren't controlled by a very tiny minority of billionaires? Imagine if you didn't have to worry about whether you could afford to get the treatment you need, or about losing your income and thereby also your home and perhaps go bankrupt. Imagine if the country was actually run for the benefit of the majority - the lie we're all told in school - and not for the the few. The coronavirus would still be a huge problem, but not one that might bring America to its knees, as it might well do now. When everything is based on how much profit can be made - including health care and critical services - there will be times of shortage like this. And what do our leaders do? Whatever the oligarchy tells them to, which will always be bad for the majority, but sold as "necessary". Go ahead re-elect Trump, or the Dem version Biden, and continue to get more of the same.

  90. Bravo/Brava to the editorial board. There was a time when a major media organization like the Times would have been hesitant to call out major American corporations for fear that they would risk losing advertising dollars. This was when newspapers were a print medium, but we are living in a different age now. The cynic in me wonders if the decision to report on how these companies are endangering the public with their sick-leave policies is made easier because many of them do not actually advertise with the New York Times. Free of the fear of losing money from these advertisers the paper has been able to provide this public service. At the end of the day, I realize that stock in these companies make up the 401(k) plans of many mutual funds that Americans depend on for retirement, so we are all complicit to some extent. But how much is really enough? How much of these corporations desire to withhold paid sick leave is based on outright greed? The Times’s decision to publish this editorial shows what may happen when power is returned to the people. There has to be a way for us to earn a living in retirement while holding our corporate overlords accountable for keeping their employees and ultimately the public safe and healthy.

  91. @PeterW Just FYI - The Times is doing a commendable job in reporting. This is NOT an unusual task for a reliable and trustworthy newspaper. Sorry your local gossip sheet does not subscribe to ordinary - and contemporary -journalistic norms. (And you should get over the notion that "advertising and editorial collaborate" It isn't true. Okay - it's not true at most levels above local. How's that for clarification?)

  92. In other countries sick leave is guaranteed and they have still profitable companies. Like Germany as example.

  93. @PeterW Except many probably do advertise in the NY Times. Physical fliers are not placed for free in a newspaper. The business pays a fee for the newspaper insertions (sale fliers). Unless NYT is flier free in their physical newspapers more than likely some of these businesses or even many of them advertise in the NY Times.

  94. 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.

  95. @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.

  96. @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.

  97. @Robert Could you please post the location of the alternate universe you apparently occupy?

  98. 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.

  99. 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".

  100. @Alan MacDonald Thank you so much!

  101. Gunna hustle me down there to Mickey D's and git me a McVector Burger and a shake!

  102. This is plain and simple horrible... is like hoarding toilet paper and selling it for profit when people are desperate. It's like hoarding money while human lives are exploited in order to hoard this much wealth. It's like no regard for human life as long your life is ok. Is like making money while exploiting the livelihood of others and the people. It's like being worst than a virus that attacks people and kills it in matters of days... these companies put people to suffer slowly until they collapse. Plain and simple, horrible, unethical. I don't believe in consciousness, karma... that takes too long and people will exploit such nonsense in order to keep exploiting others, I believe in state intervention in order to set boundaries in taxes, workers compensation, labor laws, fair is fair... that was the American way; at least used to be for some. Time for these companies to pay their fair share, hoarding wealth is horrible, hoarding when all the employees are crawling for help; that's plain and simple... evil?

  103. From day one Trump has made it his goal to make sure that corporate America, with his personal friends near the top, will not suffer. His call for National Emergency is a call for corporate America to get ready to profit from all the money that will become available amongst others through “Fema”. One only has to remember the massive scandals that took place and still are in Puerto Rico and all other disaster help handed out by Trumps gang. He also offered delayed tax payment for corporations, promised massive bonuses for development of corona medication, lowered the Fed’s rate and is still asking for more. Made zero low costs guarantees to make tests and anti virus, in fact he promised to let that up to the pharma gangsters. But Trump is not alone in his corporate caretaker ship, Nancy Pelosi with her almost scandalous worthless new House law to make it possible for corporations to not have to pay salaries when sick or not able to work for the core of American workers, middle and working class. Pelosi and her democratic leadership are as heartless and cold toward the working class as Trump. They too are beholden to their very rich donors and still refuse to demand a form of healthcare for all and low costs medication. Trump who as usual refuses to take any responsibility for the enormous failure of corona response is of course also refusing to give help to mainstream America first. He is good at fake lip service, a disaster in everything else.

  104. I'm not sure what to believe in this report. Toward the end it states, "Alongside the supermarket chains that effectively encourage sick workers to report for work are those that pay sick workers to stay home, like Fred Meyer, Stop & Shop and Safeway." Yet, those three companies are shown in the bubble graph at the top of the article, as workers without paid sick leave.

  105. @Scott The circles have numbers in them as to the number of unpaid workers. The companies you mention have no number. A bit confusing but there you have it

  106. @coloradoz That's an interesting idea, but I don't believe that you're correct. The size of the circles appear to represent the number of unpaid workers, and corresponds to the numbers shown. If the companies with no number have no unpaid workers then why are they shown at all? The circle size does not represent the total number of employees either, as indicated by the tiny circles for Amazon and FedEx for example.

  107. Employees matter .. profit oriented US companies have traditionally chosen not to walk, towards providing helpful social policies and services for their employees, so let the Coronavirus make them run for their money ... and their lives .

  108. If only there was a presidential candidate that's been fighting for workers rights and single-payer healthcare for the last 40 years!

  109. @Dick I sure can't think of anybody like that.

  110. @Dick His name is Bernie Sanders.

  111. If there only would be someone who demands sweeping changes whom the DNC supports

  112. 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.

  113. @F.Douglas Stephenson, LCSW, BCD Thank you so much! I couldn't have put it better myself.

  114. @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.

  115. @Norman Agreed! Go to the root and work hard for new M4A law. Cheers! FDS.

  116. "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?

  117. @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.

  118. 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.

  119. @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.

  120. 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.

  121. @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.

  122. @Sean O'Brien Because we are out of time.

  123. @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.

  124. 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.

  125. @Tom Loredo With rapacious Republicans still in control of the Senate (and some corporate Democrats along with them)?? It is to laugh.

  126. 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

  127. @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.

  128. 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.

  129. 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.

  130. 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.

  131. 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.

  132. @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.

  133. 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.

  134. 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.

  135. @Eugene Debs If we redid the primaries now, Bernie would be the clear winner. By wide margins.

  136. @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.')

  137. 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.

  138. 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.

  139. @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.

  140. 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.

  141. @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).

  142. @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.

  143. 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.

  144. 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.

  145. @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.

  146. 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.

  147. @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."

  148. @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.

  149. @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.

  150. 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.

  151. @Practical Thoughts Q. "Why won’t they simply pass the legislation?" A. Republicans. Solution: VOTE!

  152. @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.

  153. 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!

  154. The customers better get ready for more costly takeout/drive-through meal prices immediately. Sick days are expensive.

  155. @NOTATE REDMOND How expensive will it be , when no one comes to your restaurant?

  156. @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 .

  157. @NOTATE REDMOND This article just said sick days are NOT expensive - about 2.7 cents per hour of paid work.

  158. 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.

  159. @VKilpatrick "Company decency" is an oxymoron.

  160. @Brez Sadly true.

  161. 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?

  162. @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!

  163. 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?

  164. 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.

  165. 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?

  166. 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.

  167. 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.

  168. @ 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.

  169. 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.

  170. 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?

  171. 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.

  172. 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.

  173. 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.

  174. This is what happens when you prioritize the economic health of corporations rather than the people who work for them.

  175. 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.

  176. @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.

  177. 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.

  178. @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!

  179. 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.

  180. 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.

  181. 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.

  182. 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.

  183. 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.

  184. 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.

  185. 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.

  186. 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.

  187. 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?

  188. 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.

  189. @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.

  190. 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!

  191. 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.

  192. I wonder how this works perfectly in Germany, with 6 weeks of paid sick leave.

  193. 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.

  194. 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?

  195. @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.

  196. @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?

  197. @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.

  198. 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..

  199. 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.

  200. 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!

  201. 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.

  202. @Notmypresident AGREE! Not to mention the ad campaign piggy-backing off the employees individual acts of kindness. The very employees they treat like garbage!

  203. 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!

  204. 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.

  205. 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.

  206. 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.

  207. 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.

  208. @JS Kudos to you! Hiring? :)

  209. @JS You "European moderl" is commendable and your employees are in good hands. But New York City and Arizona are a world apart.

  210. @JS, Thank you. We need to hear that decency still exists.

  211. 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.

  212. @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.

  213. The cure for this is Medicare for All. Yet, the New York Times finds it hard to endorse Bernie Sanders for President.

  214. Bernie would win in a landslide, if the election was in two weeks!

  215. 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.

  216. 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.

  217. Taco Bell has announced paid sick leave for all employees, and income protection if their restaurant closes

  218. 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!

  219. 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.

  220. With this pandemic, maybe just maybe we'll all come to see how "morally bankrupt" are capitalistic society is...

  221. 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.

  222. 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.

  223. Wall Street doesn’t like it so it won’t happen.

  224. 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.

  225. 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.

  226. 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."

  227. 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?