Gov. Beshear urges paid sick leave amid coronavirus concerns

Health Care Kentucky
Posted at 11:45 AM, Mar 05, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As of Thursday afternoon, three people were being monitored for coronavirus in Kentucky.

One of the number one things people are being told to do to help stop the spread of such a virus is to stay home if they are not feeling well, but that is not a reality for everyone and Governor Andy Beshear is acknowledging that.

The average amount of time health experts say to self-isolate in the case of something like the coronavirus is two weeks, but for someone not receiving paid sick leave, working 14 days without bringing home a paycheck can be incredibly difficult.

"That can be really harmful to an individual. Missing two weeks of work and making sure that there is not the pressure for someone to go back, " Beshear said.

According to The Kentucky Center For Economic Policy, Kentucky is among the worst in the nation when it comes to paid sick leave. They report around 62% of private sector workers in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi receive paid sick days. That is in contrast to 92% in the Pacific Northwest.

With all of that information in mind, Beshear is asking companies, like factories or retailers, that do not currently offer paid leave to really think about it.

"Absolutely consider it for the next several months because it's better to have a couple people that you're paying paid sick leave than to shut down your facility, " Beshear said.

Beshear stressed that the flu is still a greater risk to Kentuckians than the coronavirus. He does expect Kentucky will get at least one case of coronavirus in the near future.