Labor unions across the country are stepping in to ensure the health and well-being of workers, reports, a Springfield, MA affiliate news outlet.

While some companies are making internal efforts to support their workers during a time of mass layoffs, anxiety about lost wages and medical coverage is high. “I live a lot of the world, paycheck to paycheck,” explains Helen Hillman of Springfield, MA. “That would affect me greatly if I couldn’t work. I get some paid sick leave, but not a lot.”

The outlet reports that “beginning this year, Massachusetts residents and employers started paying into the state’s paid family and medical leave program.”
But those benefits won’t be available until 2021, which doesn’t provide help for the current COVID-19 crisis.

In response, one local MA union is asking for an additional seven paid sick days for those who qualify under the state’s sick time law, which states that companies with fewer than 11 employees do not have to offer paid sick leave. Jeff Jones, president of the Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation tells that “we are asking employers with 11 employees or less to continue to pay their employees should that employee have to miss work.”

Read more about the union’s efforts to ensure the well-being of local workers during the coronavirus pandemic here.