IU's chief health officer: The complexity of calling in sick

Despite the necessity of caution regarding bringing COVID-19 into work, many employees are not afforded the right to call in sick, Aaron Carroll, MD, writes in a May 30 New York Times guest essay. 

Dr. Carroll, the chief health officer of Indiana University and a professor of pediatrics at Indianapolis-based IU School of Medicine, argues that although many employees will want to stay home when they feel sick, they do not have enough sick days or paid leave to do so. The U.S. is the only developed country that doesn't have a federal paid leave policy, and there are no guaranteed days off if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, in contrast to countries like Australia, Spain and Ireland, which mandate employer protections. 

Lack of paid sick leave affects those who are more economically disadvantaged, the same people who are also often lacking health insurance and have the most risk of contracting COVID-19 severely. This also disproportionately affects minority communities.

"Going to work ill isn’t a show of strength, it’s a sign of a sick system," he writes.


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