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The Lack of Paid Sick Leave Is Unhealthy for America | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

The Lack of Paid Sick Leave Is Unhealthy for America


More than 40 million Americans work without any paid time off. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews.)

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

Ian Rizzio was a 24-year-old mechanical engineering student in Portland, Oregon, managing a sandwich shop to pay his tuition. One day, he woke up sick, but went to work anyway, as he later testified to the Portland City Council. After vomiting in the bathroom, Rizzio spent two hours trying — unsuccessfully — to reach his boss before going home to rest.

When Rizzio came into work the next day, he was fired immediately. With $35,000 in student loans, he feared he’d have to withdraw from school.

Unfortunately, Rizzio is not alone.

More than 40 million Americans—disproportionately low-income, black and Latino workers—cook, clean, fold, and ring us up without any paid time off when they or their children are ill.

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

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