As I have addressed the CDC's advice to prepare for increased COVID-19 cases in North Carolina by reviewing and acting on the advice of the NC DHHS , I realize how thankful i am for my employment that allows me to work from home regularly. I am aware, though, of my friends who work in retail, and of employers that have merged vacation and sick leave into "paid time off." I recognize that there is nothing to protect their livelihoods if they choose to protect the community by staying home despite the lack of protection for their employment.
I ask that the legislature consider a number of actions to protect all of us and compensate those who are economically affected:
First, mandate that workers receive paid time off if they fall ill, or if they need to care for an ailing family member. Ideally, this would apply to all illnesses at all times, because the flu itself is a public health risk. If North Carolina cannot address the general public health issue of contagious disease like the flu, at least the state could address COVID-19.
Second, defray the cost of emergency sick leave for employers by allowing businesses to claim a one-time tax credit.
I'm sure there are many ways to address the specific concern of not punishing workers for doing the right thing and these ideas (outlined more in ) are not the only way to meet that goal: please, protect North Carolina workers before the crisis is on the state.