If this crisis has demonstrated anything, it is that incentivizing workers to come to work sick is, if nothing else, terrible from a public health perspective, not to mention a serious threat to the income security of working families. However, today Senator McSally, on a telephone town hall with over 20,000 people in attendance, declined to support establishing a national mandatory paid sick leave requirement for all employers going forward.
I asked her the question myself. I made clear that polling indicates the a clear majority of Republican voters support a 2 week national mandatory paid sick leave for all workers, and thus she would certainly be safe with Republican voters in supporting the measure. I also pointed out that among food service workers about 3/4 lack that benefit currently.
McSally answered that her priority would be to get immediate cash relief to people who have to stay home during the crisis, and that imposing new mandates on industry could cause layoffs and disruption to people’s employment. She refused to say a clear yes or no, but with that response about new regulatory burdens, her non-responsive answer is certainly a clear, “No.”
McSally’s answer is especially lame given that 3/4 of workers already have the benefit, through state and local mandates and voluntary policies, so the effect on the employment environment would mostly be on lower wage-paying employers and industries. Her scaremongering about layoffs and job losses are the exact same bogus excuse that Republicans raise against raising the minimum wage, which has been debunked by facts on the ground, again and again.
Shame on McSally for standing against the majority of her own party’s voters and the public’s health. Shame on the GOP establishment’s failure to support a mandatory national paid sick leave for the roughly 1/4 of workers, mostly of lower incomes, who currently lack it. This is a vivid example of the GOP’s continual failure to put the needs of working families and the health of all Americans ahead of the donor class’s corporate profits.