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Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Vital, Says Kaine

Man speaking
Senator Tim Kaine (Craig Carper/VPM News)

Sen. Tim Kaine says he is “uncomfortable” that the federal government is not prepared to move into a telework mode if the virus strikes Washington and has asked his staff members to work from home as a “drill" tomorrow.

In a teleconference with reporters, Kaine said it was important to be prepared, adding, "I want to test the ability of my staff to work from home in case we need to in the future."

He has doubled the paid sick leave for his staff, and he has co-sponsored emergency legislation to mandate workplaces give all workers seven paid sick days. "We would expect employers to pay you for the sick leave," he said.

In a public health crisis like the coronavirus, employees would gain an additional 14 days available immediately.

"No employer, none, would want a sick person to come in and infect everyone," Kaine said. 

According to the Department of Labor, about 25% of the American workforce has no sick leave and might go to work when they should stay home.