Some big employers are adjusting their policies. But millions question whether their sick days will run out.

By Kathryn Dill

In 2019, more than 33 million U.S. workers had no access to sick leave, federal data show. Many of them are food and cleaning staff who are more likely to get infected or be a vector for disease—and don’t have the option of working from home.

The consequences of going into work while sick can be huge when infectious diseases are involved. A report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that employees who went to work while sick with H1N1, also known as the swine flu, caused the infection of as many as seven million co-workers in 2009.

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