- One in five workers reported having gone to work sick since the start of the pandemic, according to the March 10 results of a survey of 1,000 U.S. employees and 300 U.S. employers by Just Capital and the Harris Poll. Of those workers, a third said they did so because they were afraid they’d lose their jobs; another third said they didn’t have access to paid leave; and 28% said they didn’t want to anger their boss or employer.
- Thirteen percent of participants said they had been discouraged from reporting illness during the pandemic. That figure rose to 28% among Hispanic respondents, and the survey noted that both Hispanic and Black respondents were "disproportionately more likely to say they fear negative, personal impact if they were to report on safety issues in the workplace."
- The study revealed a divergence in safety perception between employees and employers. While 19% of employer respondents agreed that profits are prioritized above worker safety frequently, 37% of workers reported as such. Similarly, 14% of employer respondents said management does the minimum to keep workers healthy; 32% of workers agreed with that statement.
Just Capital, which ranks U.S. corporations on various issues, called on employers to continue the policies they developed in response to the coronavirus in the post-pandemic world. "To build resilience, employers should think long-term when it comes to health and safety," the non-profit said in a press release about the survey.
Specifically, it recommended employers uphold efforts related to paid sick leave, employee engagement and higher compensation. "There is a critical opportunity today for companies to get this right, lead by example, and help create a safer, more equitable future for all Americans," the firm said.
Just Capital is not alone in its call for companies to adopt paid leave policies. Asset management company Mercer urged employers to provide paid leave at the end of 2020, which brought the end of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). FFCRA required businesses with fewer than 500 workers to provide paid sick leave to employees who couldn’t work due to COVID-19. Like Just Capital, Mercer recommended employers think past the pandemic, suggesting employers build out broader leave programs with a "new, more sustainable approach to PTO."