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Essential but Excluded

Why Food Sector Workers Need Paid Sick Leave in the Context of COVID-19

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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was the first ever national legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave benefits to American workers. But the act excluded firms with more than 500 employees. Many sectors of the food industry are highly consolidated, meaning large segments of this essential workforce are excluded from receiving paid sick leave from the very firms most able to afford it. This presents risks to both workers and their communities, as workers are incentivized to continue working even if sick or exposed.