Sickened by COVID-19, low-wage workers lose jobs. Others are denied paid leave.

By Alexia Fernández Campbell


In all, the businesses owe $690,000 in unpaid wages to 527 employees, who are not identified in the documents. Most of the workers are low-wage earners in the construction, hotel and food industries. It’s likely many more companies have broken the law because workers such as Joseph aren’t aware of their rights and therefore haven’t filed complaints.

“Workers with low wages are most in need of paid leave,” said Tanya Goldman, a former Labor Department policy adviser who’s now an attorney at the nonprofit Center for Law and Social Policy. “They literally cannot afford to stay home and take a sick day if they get COVID.”


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