- Some in-person essential workers, including farm workers, are still ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Spectrum News, March 19, 2021; WBUR, February 5, 2021.
- Women, people of color, and immigrants comprise the majority of the essential workforce. Associated Press, May 1, 2020.
- Essential workers are more likely to live with children and others who also have front-line jobs. Associated Press, May 1, 2020.
- Undocumented farmworkers are excluded from federal benefits or protections in the CARES Act. National Public Radio, May 13, 2020.
- Mortality rates for COVID-19 are higher among older people, people with chronic conditions, and Black and brown individuals. New England Journal of Medicine, July 30, 2020; Time, May 27, 2020.
- Ensure that public health policies and plans are sensitive to race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and other unique characteristics of individuals affected by the policies or plans. APHA Code of Ethics 4.5.11.
- See ethical guidelines in this Dashboard to Implement Control Measures Equitably.
Recommendations and Practices
- When developing mitigation plans, communities should identify ways to ensure the safety and social well-being of groups that may be especially affected by mitigation strategies, including individuals at risk for severe illness. Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission, CDC
- Consider offering vulnerable workers duties that minimize their contact with customers and other employees. Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019, CDC
- In Texas, workers who cannot return to work due to health-related concerns (including people over 65), people living with high-risk individuals, and people unable to find care for their children are eligible to continue receiving unemployment benefits. The Dallas Morning News
- The Target company increased paid leave benefits for employees 65 and older, pregnant workers, and vulnerable populations. Target
- Essential workers are more likely to live below or just above the federal poverty line. Associated Press, May 1, 2020.
- Approximately 1 in 7 essential workers lack health insurance. Kaiser Family Foundation, May 1, 2020.
- Temporary hazard pay for grocery store workers at major chains has ended. Vox, May 18, 2020.
- Flexible leave policies for workers are ending. Bloomberg News, June 3, 2020.
- Governments should ensure that public sector workers are paid in a timely manner and make efforts to ensure that actors in the private and nongovernmental sectors fulfill their own obligations to pay their employees and contractors. WHO Ethics in an Outbreak
- Fair remuneration for frontline workers includes the provision of financial support during periods in which workers are unable to carry out their normal responsibilities because of an infection acquired on the job. WHO Ethics in an Outbreak
- Frontline workers who become sick, as well as any immediate family members who become ill through contact with the worker, should be ensured access to the highest level of care reasonably available. WHO Ethics in an Outbreak
Recommendations and Practices
- Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices. Guidance for Businesses & Employers: Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019, CDC
- Paid family leave should be made widely available to all workers. A policy framework for tackling the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 crisis, International Labor Organization
- Coverage of healthcare costs needs to be extended to all workers and their families, irrespective of their employment status. A policy framework for tackling the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 crisis, International Labor Organization
- California expanded paid sick and family leave qualifications and benefits beyond the federal guidelines in the FFCRA Act. State of California
- Furloughed employees are eligible to receive unemployment benefits in North Carolina. State of North Carolina