Connecticut companies need to offer paid time off to hourly workers in light of Covid-19

In addition to freelance writing, I work part-time at an upscale market in Guilford, Connecticut. It has concerned me that I will have to go in and possibly expose myself to the virus, should an infected customer come through my line. I am not overly anxious about this, but anxiety will certainly grow the minute Guilford gets its fist confirmed case.
Connecticut, as of today, has had two confirmed cases -- one of them a New York doctor who works at Bridgeport Hospital, and now a Wilton resident -- and those numbers will grow. How will the state's businesses respond to an outbreak and obvious need for employees to stay home?
Seattle, Wash.-based Dorsey & Whitney is in the heart of the viral outbreak in the U.S., with the state suffering 136 cases so far, with 19 of them fatal*. They have put out a statement saying that the White House is considering deferring taxes for the cruise, travel and airline industries to help with the economic fallout, but more than that, the federal government needs to help workers affected by the outbreak.
"As the federal government mulls financial aid to workers and companies affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, it should emphasize assistance to hourly workers who do not have the option to work remotely," says Aaron Goldstein, a labor and employment partner at the international law firm.
Goldstein is getting calls daily from concerned companies all over the nation wondering what they should do. He says a joint effort between governments and the business sector is part of a solution.
"For many companies and their employees, the Covid-19 outbreak will be an economic crisis, not just a health crisis. Hourly workers who need to make rent but cannot work remotely may be afraid to stay away from work, even if they start feeling sick. If school closures become more wide spread, these same workers will have trouble finding childcare during school hours and be under even more economic pressure. As the federal government considers “timely” and “targeted,” but otherwise unspecified financial assistance to workers and industries, certain private companies have begun to step up."
He points out that Microsoft announced that it will pay hourly workers whose hours have been impacted by the outbreak their usual weekly pay. "Such a move not only helps these workers survive economically, but also helps contain the spread of Covid-19. Not all companies, however, have the resources to assist their workers in this manner. If the federal government and local governments want to take an immediate step to address both the spread of Covid-19 and its financial impact, they should seriously consider wage replacement for hourly workers whose hours have been reduced by the crisis."
Connecticut Green Living would love to hear from readers in the state regarding how your employer is handling the crisis. You can also message me at
PHOTO: By Felipe Esquivel Reed - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
* An earlier version of this blog stated 70 cases. The 136 figure is as of Mon. A.M. Mar. 9.


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