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03/12/2020

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Charlotte

According to Mull, the people who do not get sick time paid off and that do not have medical insurance are the people working in the service industry. These people are the ones working in stores like Wal-Mart, or in restaurants like McDonald's. They do customer service and are in constant contact with other people or surfaces other people might touch. They can spread the disease to co-workers or clients easily. People working in the gig economy also have a hard time obtaining sick time paid off and paid medical insurance, since they work on limited-time contracts (gigs) or are independent workers or contractors. They aren't protected by the same labor laws as everyone else because they are their own bosses. They manage their own salaries on the profits they make. The have to pay themselves on sick days and pay their own medical insurance with their companies profits, if not with their own salaries, but most of their profits are not enough to cover that on top of every other necessary expanses.

Coralie

I totally agree with you Charlotte. In fact, majority of workers who don’t have access to health insurance or paid sick days are usually the ones who have jobs were a degree isn’t necessary, for example, in stores, restaurants, cleaning industry, etc. They usually come from a poor background where college was maybe not an option or wasn’t considered important. Furthermore, those people may have physical condition that limits their job choices. I think that these workers are the one who cannot benefit from a good health care and paid sick time off, because they are partly easy to replace, in other words, their boss can easily find someone else to take their place. These people are usually paid at minimum wage and that salary kind of oblige them to live in unsanitary places where diseases are less managed and access to clinics and hospital are really limited. Also, the gig economy is formed of independent workers, like Uber drivers, contractors and many more who aren’t protected by paid-leave laws, because they have to manage their own income and expenses as well as their company, so if they take a few days off, they are only harming themselves.

Noémie

According to Mull, people who actually have paid sick leave don't take it because they fear that, in the future, there will be a more urgent event, such as loved ones being sick or themselves having a more serious illness. Some are also hesitant to even ask their employer for a paid sick leave knowing that they will probably refuse by wanting their workers to be efficient. I think it is outrageous that not only some people don't even have access to paid sick leave, but the people who have it need to prioritize the illness of others over their own. Workers should be protected and have the right to take a paid sick leave in order to take care of their children because no one chooses to get sick so it is not even close to a luxury. We should not have to work or go to class if our body is telling us that it needs to rest just because our absences are limited. We usually ask ourselves if we are able to stand up and concentrate in order to choose if we should stay home or not, but the current pandemic proved that it is not just about how we feel, but also about the others who we could contaminate. Those in charge should focus more on the well-being of everyone and less on the performance of their business or institution. They should also try to put themselves in their employees' shoes.

Leili

According to Mull, the wealthy people in America are often the ones who have higher paid jobs and are the ones who have health insurance and paid time off. However, for the vaste majority, they are employees with an hourly salary, no paid leave and more dangerous working conditions. These jobs are often the ones that don't need a high level of education and where the employees can get easily fired and replaced for causing a little trouble (Fast food industry, as an example). For these people, asking for time off means missing an hourly wage that is used for food and rent, or again risking their jobs. It is therefore impossible for them to ask for time off, forcing them to go to work, even when they are sick. In my opinion, these people are the ones who should have access to health care and paid leave, as they are the ones who directly interact with customers and who are more exposed to viruses. The same principle applies to people in the ''gig'' economy, which is based on independant workers. Indeed, they are not protected by paid-leave laws, considering they manage their own companies, expenses and income. Once again, they cannot afford taking a few days off.

Gabrielle

In her article, Mull argues that people do not take sick leave even though they have the possibility to do so. This is because they put others' needs before their own. They save their sick leave for emergencies or to take care of others (in most cases, family members). These people could be considered unselfish for their noble act. However, I strongly believe otherwise. People need to put their own health first to be able to take care of others. On a plane, flight attendants instruct passengers to first put on their own oxygen masks and then assist the other person. There's a reason for that. If you cannot save yourself, how are you supposed to help others? Why should it be any different when someone sick needs to take time off to gain strength and health? If you do not stay home when sick you endanger others. Continuing to work when sick poses a real threat to society. It is unfair to others and is clearly illogical. The current pandemic has definitely changed how I feel about staying home when sick. COVID-19 is a violent virus that has killed many people and keeps spreading viciously. It is frightening that a virus with flu-like symptoms could have such a huge impact worldwide! Obviously, any smart person would stay home from now on when they are sick. I totally agree with Noemie about her opinion of how people in charge should react. Leaders should put themselves in other people's shoes. People in charge should be more comprehensive and fair in such cases. People need to start considering the well-being of those around them. It impacts you, but everyone else too!

Sarah

I think Noémie had a good point saying that sickness is never a luxury and that we should listen to our body. A lot of people depend on these few hours of work to pay their rent and students have to go to class in order to get good grades. Therefore, it isn't in their best interest to miss a week of work or school and risk losing their job or getting expelled, they simply can't afford it. Also, everybody reacts differently during an illness, some may need a few weeks to get better and antibiotics while others may only need two days of rest. You are the only one who knows your body and your limits, a manager shouldn't argue with his employees on whether they are "sick enough" to be paid while staying home. It is very unfair to think that sick leave is said to be an option, while in reality it's almost always their last choice, even if they get paid. Workers have to think about the impact that these few days at home could have on their career, but also on their family in case they need them in the future. It is very sad knowing that workers are ready to endure full days of pain in order to keep their job. Those in charge should be more considerate and think in the long term how their decisions could affect other employees as well as their business. By allowing workers and students to stay home when sick, they prevent so many people from getting ill and having to stop working or going to school. What is worse for a manager, losing one cashier for 3 to 4 days or 4 employees because they got contaminated?

Marie-Jeanne

According to Mull, the symptoms of the majority of healthy people who contract Coronavirus, like a head cold or mild-flu, aren't enough of a good reason to take a day off. There is culture surrounding the toughness of going to work disregarding your mental or physical condition that discourages people to take a leave of absence when they get sick. Furthermore, the American average for paid sick leave is seven days, but many have less than that. If a worker has a mild-flu, he might want to wait for a more severe sickness to take his leave of absence. He may want to keep it to take care of a close one when they get sick. I believe these reasons are extremely valid especially when the symptoms of COVID-19 are usually mild, you never know is something that seems worst will happen in the future. If I was pressured by my boss to come to work knowing it could interfere in my work afterwards or even get me fired, I would definitely go. Personally, I need to be very sick to miss class because I get stressed out about missing a surprise evaluation, an important lesson, etc. I only skip classes because of sickness when I actually can't get out of bed. I think those in charge would take advantage in providing a better options for these kind of events, especially during a pandemic. They have much more to lose if all of their employees can't work because they are sick or their families are, than if they take measures to avoid the disease spreading.

Alexandra

According to Mull, people are reluctant to take sick leaves because of the office culture that promotes people to go above and beyond, which is applauded by many American companies. Furthermore, people often do not to take sick leave when they actually should since they sometimes want to keep these days for when they are really ill and need them, or for when loved ones might get sick. Lastly, people are often not asking for it, since it could give a bad impression of themselves to their boss and some do not want to lose their job. In the case of the Covid-19, its symptoms, such as experiencing headaches and a sore throat do not seem like enough to justify their sick leave, and they would rather keep these days for more "important" matters. I have rarely stopped working because I was sick. In fact, I never really stop unless I physically cannot. This situation has changed my opinion, mainly because I am now more aware than ever on the risk it could create for others. However, it would depend on what kind of sickness I have. Finally, bosses and managers should simply realize the risk they are taking, since their entire staff could get contaminated, and that could be a disaster for their company or organization. The best way to make them realize that is by continuing to raise awareness, and by hopefully having a president that does not only think that the Covid-19 is "just a flu".

Eléonore Mihailescu

According to Mull, even people who have paid sick leave don't always take a day off. Indeed, most Americans have between three to seven days off each year when they are sick. Even if they don't feel well, they would rather go to work and save up these days in case they caught a more serious illness or to take care of a family member in need. Also, America's office culture is based on productivity which could lead managers to force their employees to go to work. I think that Sarah made a good point by saying that it isn’t in the interest of people to miss school or work because of the consequences that could happen. I think that leaders should be more concerned by the well-being of the persons working for them and encourage sick people to stay home instead of going to work. Even if that means paying your employees while they are home recovering. It would be more profitable for the manager to do that than giving a salary to a person that is not able to give his 100% to do their job and will probably contaminate his colleagues. As a matter of fact, by staying home the person doesn't only protect herself, but also the person around. The current pandemic really changed the way I feel about staying home when you’re sick. Before, even if I was sick, I would still go to class in fear of missing something important, but now I realize how my decisions could have a big impact on someone else life.

Elynna

In Mull’s article “The Problem With Telling Sick Workers to Stay Home”, she stated that most people who have the possibility to take sick leave do not want to waste it on an insignificant little flu. They actually want to save it for more critical occasions. For example, when their children are sick and need to be taken care of. Unfortunately, I would probably do the same. Therefore, we need to open our mind and think carefully about the consequences. Here is another thing, what about the employees that do not hold this choice such as Uber drivers or other organizations that work independently? “These jobs are also the kind least likely to supply workers with health insurance, making it difficult for millions of people to get medical proof that they can’t go to work.” indicated Mull. Exactly how do you expect them to stay safe on this horrific pandemic if they cannot ask for days off and cannot afford health insurance? They are already vulnerable with their living habits. What we are forgetting here is the real danger of not staying at home when we are sick. We probably are presented with mild symptoms, but if we are contagious like having the COVID-19, others can die from it. This pandemic really proves us that, whenever you are sick, it is best for you to take days off to help your immune system and to avoid spreading it to others around you. To answer the last question of #2, I agree with what Noémie shared about what those in charge should do. They need to look after their employees. The one employing you also need to be conscious. They should suggest you to stay at home if they see you are not in the right state of mind to complete your work and make sure that you feel better. Let me remind you that we are human beings, not machines. We do get sick times to times.

Éloïse

Mull states that people go to work and put others at risks with or without paid sick leave. Either you are being forced to go to work because you don't have health insurance with your job or if you do, you'd rather stay home to save the paid days you can get. Those who don't have the same privileges as the richer population are the ones with the jobs that involve the more contact with others. Sometimes their pay is the rent of the month, some of them live on the edge and they need to go to work even if they are ill. They don't get the chance to stay home and get better when they get sick. People in good health show symptoms of the virus but are not as pronounced as someone that would have diabetes or breathing problem to start with. They should be allowed to take time off to get better and not risk giving others the virus. Sometimes those people won't even show symptoms but can still carry the virus and give it to others. In this case, they are more dangerous. Even if some preventions are taken like keeping your distance with others, the better way to avoid the spreading of the virus is to stay home and the ones that do not have access to paid leave can't allow themselves to take a break or try to work from home. I think Mull is right when she says that Americans put others in danger by not staying home when they could and should. People who have access to paid sick leave and health care should take advantage of that in this time of crisis. They say they are keeping those days in bank for when something worse happens but what we are living is big and all the precautions we can take should be taken.

Anthony

Amanda Mull, a writer for The Atlantic, a magazine with a typically liberal political opinion, explains in her article titled “The Problem With Telling Sick Workers to Stay Home” that there’s a concerning problem with the average Americans work ethic. So much so that even people who are entitled to paid sick leave don’t use it. She feels as though the people that are a part of the ever-growing “gig economy”, meaning those that choose to work for app-based platforms that dole out work in bits and pieces such as Uber and Airbnb aren’t being fairly treated. As I’m reading through the opinions of fellow readers, I’ve come to the realization that the debate seems to be extremely one-sided. “Everyone should be entitled to paid sick leave!” “The world would be so much better!” It really isn’t that simple. In my opinion, the lack of paid sick leave in the “gig industry” is a non-issue. Think of it from a business standpoint. Literally, anyone can sign up right now and become an Uber driver or a Postmates delivery person overnight. If you declare yourself sick within the first day, without even having completed a gig, how could you possibly expect anyone to pay you a single penny? At its core, the “sharing economy” is extremely unstable, that’s what gives it its charm. Anyone that thinks that working as an Uber driver can be a replacement for a stable cubicle job must be deemed delusional! This debate about paid sick leave is intrinsically related to the country’s economic identity. If you work in the United States, you must expect a capitalist system where you are rewarded according to the number of hours you put in. If you wish to work in a country where you work, not for you, but for the motherland and where pay is (theoretically) equal, may I suggest using a time machine to go visit the Soviet Union. The correlation between a lack of paid leave and the proliferation of the pandemic is shaky at best. If you really want to avoid the spread of COVID-19, perhaps a more radical approach would be to adopt free healthcare for all and possibly electing a president that knows how to appropriately navigate a country through a crisis of this scale next time around. In summary, if you choose, out of your own free will, to work in an unstable industry, you should accept the possible consequences.

Lanyia

I agree with Ms. Mull. The majority of work conditions require more contact and psychical bodies than the CDC is allowing at this trying time. But you must take into account the actions taken place thus far. All companies and that aren't necessary for human survival is shut down until further notice. Making the places open essential.

Alix

According to Mull in the article The Problem With Telling Sick Workers to Stay Home, some people do not take sick leave, even when they have it, for many reasons. Firstly, numerous do not have a lot of days of sick leave. Hence, they are hesitant to use them as they want to save it for something more serious, or to look after their family if they get sick. Secondly, even the minority that has ample sick leave is reluctant to ask since America's office culture encourages workers to come into work even though they are sick, as the workplace is very competitive. In my opinion, I think that this is very troubling. The fact that some people simply do not have the right to protect themselves and to slow down a global pandemic without having to risk losing their job is truly unfair. At my school, you need to be sick enough that your instructions would be obstructed. A simple flu will not do it, and you need a doctor's note to support your claim, contaminating more people on their way to the hospital or clinic. Before this pandemic happened, I never once skipped a day of school because I was sick. However, I now understand the dangers I can put people in by coming to school sick. Regarding the crisis America is facing, the government could for instance implant a human number of paid sick days and put labour protection law in place.

Éloïse

I think you are right Alexandra when you say people are reluctant to take paid sick leave because of the society we live in. It's all about making money and showing up every day to work, whether we are sick or not. In our situation, people should think of others and stay home if they present any symptoms.

Charlotte

Like Coralie said, the people working in jobs which have no health insurance or paid sick leaves are easy to replace. Their bosses don't mind firing them because they have no trouble finding new employees. Since these jobs are mostly for people without a full education or for students, they always have new people coming to these companies for a job. This can be very beneficial for these particular companies because most students won't claim medical insurance and paid sick leaves since they don't need their job to live, they only have it on the side.

Amira

As Amanda Mull mentions in https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/02/coronavirus-could-hit-american-workers-especially-hard/607213/ , the people working in contact with others are often not covered by medical insurance and they are not eligible for sick pay day. In this time of crisis, we realize that a lot of stores that stayed open are the ones with people who doesn't have medical insurance and this kind of protection and I think the government must act to protect them because they are essential to our society.

Yujie

According to Mull, workers with good health care and paid sick time are people who work in a big firm or large company and those without are usually people working in stores and restaurants. These people in general don't receive or demand paid time off because they need their hourly wage to pay the rent or the groceries which is very understandable. Since they always work surrounded by people, they can easily pass the virus from one person to another. This leads to a rise of COVID-19 cases. Another group of people who aren't protected by the same labor laws are the gig workers who are people with independent contracts such as Uber drivers.

Noémie

I agree with Yujie who said that the people who actually have paid sick days and access to good health care are the ones who are less vulnerable and that the people who don't have these advantages are people that are the most exposed to the virus. I think that this situation shows how our society favors more rich or middle class people than the less fortune ones. It creates a bigger gap between the wealthy and the poor in a crisis that is out of everyone's control.

Kimia

Amanda Mull writes in her article that a lot of Americans don't have paid sick leave. She also states that those who have, don't usually ask for it as they don't want to be seen as problematic. According to her, employers can fire someone for asking for sick leave because they are too much trouble and less efficient. In addition, people prefer to keep their few sick leave days for more important reasons, such as when their loved ones are sick. I think that this is wrong as no one should fear taking a day off to take care of themselves. We sometimes forget to prioritize ourselves or our health and this is not acceptable. In my opinion, if going to school or to work will worsen your symptoms and it could affect the health of others, you should definitely stay home. This current pandemic has thought me that we shouldn't take any risks about health. Covid-19 might not be very dangerous for our age group, but it could be fatal for older folks. That's why we should all stay home to protect ourselves and mostly others. This pandemic has changed our lives . Therefore managers and leaders should mitigate and change their laws and standards to be more flexible and promote a culture of health and wellbeing.

Sabrina Soliday

The article, “The Problem with Telling Sick Workers to Stay Home,” by Amanda Mull really grabbed my attention. One of the biggest ways a virus can spread is through going to work when sick. According to Mull, people that need to take time off of work due to sickness often do not due to fear of not having days to take off later. Furthermore, many jobs only allow around four days a year for sick leave. As much as I hate to admit it, I can agree with this as in my most recent job, I was afraid to miss work when I had moderate flu symptoms. Mull mentioned that some people simply can not stay home because they need their paycheck to get groceries. The reason this is such an issue with the virus is because oftentimes these jobs are the ones that are on the front lines of spreading viruses. It is often servers, store workers, or people in close office spaces.

Anne-Sophie

In her article, “The Problem with Telling Sick Workers to Stay Home,” Amanda Mull describes the situation of sick workers who have to stay home in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading faster. According to Mull, many workers won't take sick leave, even when they have it. They prefer using these sick days later, for a more serious situation in which their family or themselves would be seriously ill. Indeed, many hesitate to use their sick days for something they think is minor. I understand these reasons, it is normal to prefer using sick days only in case of a serious illness. However, I also think it is important that people stay home if they feel sick because it is a way to prevent the virus from spreading. Personaly, I have to be very sick to miss class or work, because it takes me more energy to catch up later. The pandemic changed how you feel about staying home if I am sick, I realise today how important it is to stay home if I really feel sick. It is important for your body to rest, but staying at home is also a way to protect more vulnerable people from being sick too.

Jennifer


I agree with you Kimia. Even if the virus does not cause a lot of health problems for your group age, it surely does for older people. It's also important to mention that even young people can have important complications du to the virus if they suffers from diseases such as diabetics. As Mull wrote in the article, unfortunately about one third of Americans workers dont't have a good health care insurance and paid time off. Therefore, they can not afford to take time off if they are sick or have mild symptoms. These people are a big risk for everyone else especially because these jobs are part of services and the gig economy(https://youtu.be/oQfTJy0sRVs), These jobs are places where there is often contact with a lot of people. This makes the spread of germs very easily. These workers are not protected by the same labor laws because they are not completely considered as a full-time employe.

Victoria Veronica

I agree with you Sabrina when you say that one of the best ways to spread a virus is by going to work when we are sick, especially in this time of crisis. Unfortunately, according to Mull, there is still one-third of the population who doesn't have paid sick leave and she's still right about the reluctancy of the rest of the workers about using these days off. Let's imagine we're not in a situation of crisis. Besides the fact that everybody need to pay their bills, what push workers to go to work may also be the impression that they are afraid to let behind them by taking a day off. In this society where image comes first, we are afraid to be seen as a weak or lazy person, never knowing how sick we must be to skip work for a day. That is why many people chose to go to work instead of staying gently home until the illness passes. I am asking you, how many times do we hear judgments when a person have chosen to stay home when feeling sick? I think that one of the best lessons we could get from COVID-19 is to let this idea of bad impression behind us and to be more tolerant and empathetic towards people around us now that we know how big can become the symptoms of a simple flu.

Melina

As Amanda Mull explains in her article, not everyone in America is lucky enough to get paid sick leave and good health insurance in this critical time. What is even more controversial is that the people who normally don’t have these privileges are majorly working in the service industry, a type of work that is necessary in this pandemic. These workers should be protected since they provide essential needs and they are the most likely to be in contact with a large number of people. For this last reason, they are the ones that are the most at risk to catch COVID-19, but also to pass on this disease because they can’t afford to take sick leave. It’s not only that taking sick leave is frowned upon in their work environment, but it’s also because they can’t afford to miss work. Another type of workers that can’t spare to skip work and normally doesn’t have health insurance are the ones working in the “gig economy”. The employees of this new work sphere, such as Uber drivers, are paid by gigs and have the liberty to work whenever they want. However, this last privilege can also be a disadvantage since they don’t have paid sick or holidays leave. Many Americans are left unprotected in front of COVID-19 and consequently Amanda Mull’s affirmation, about protecting everyone with paid sick leave, should be taken in serious consideration.

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