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95% of Americans support paid sick leave for coronavirus victims

March 25, 2020, 7:53 PM UTC
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

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Ninety-five percent of Americans support some form of emergency paid leave for workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by Lean In and SurveyMonkey.

Lean In, the organization founded by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, with SurveyMonkey polled about 2,700 adults on March 20 and 21. When they were asked, “Who do you think should have access to paid leave for illness or quarantine related to the coronavirus?,” 95% of those respondents picked at least one type of worker. Only 5% said none of the above.

The respondents overwhelmingly supported paid leave for health care workers, emergency responders, grocery store employees, pharmacy employees, and childcare workers, with at least 70% in favor of paid leave for each group. Sixty-seven percent supported paid leave for workers at all businesses that are open during the pandemic.

“These findings should send a strong message to lawmakers that people need and want paid sick leave to help them through this crisis,” LeanIn.Org CEO Rachel Thomas said in a statement. “Paid leave would help people take care of their families and stay home if they are sick. These are basics that everyone deserves, no matter what they do for a living or the size of the company they work for.”

Before the coronavirus crisis, Americans didn’t have access to paid sick leave at the national level, although California and a handful of other states guarantee the benefit. President Trump last week signed into law the the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which requires some employers to provide two weeks of fully paid sick leave for employees who are quarantined or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and two weeks of leave at two-thirds pay to care for a quarantined family member. The legislation also guarantees 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave at two-thirds pay for workers, employed for at least 30 days, who need to care for a child whose school or childcare provider is closed because of the crisis.

Large employers with more than 500 workers are exempt from the requirement.

Lean In also polled survey respondents on that legislation; 79% said the law should go further to expand paid leave.

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—Listen to Leadership Next, a Fortune podcast examining the evolving role of CEOs
—WATCH: World leaders and health experts on how to stop the spread of COVID-19

Subscribe to Outbreak, a daily roundup of stories on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on global business, delivered free to your inbox.