Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas and several other cities are calling on delivery companies,
including United Parcel Service (UPS), Fed Ex Corporation and XPO Logistics to expand worker protections to address the public health crisis.After learning that workers are being forced to show up to work despite showing COVID-19 symptoms due to fear of retaliation, DCWP urged the delivery companies to revise their sick leave policy to address public health concerns. Participating cities include New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle. This multi-city effort was developed in partnership with Public Rights Project, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting state and local law offices and enforcement agencies to enhance the capacity to enforce civil, economic, and environmental rights of their residents.
“Delivery workers are essential to providing food, medicine, supplies, and comfort during this public health crisis,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “We are grateful for this service that we are all relying on now and we need their employers to expand their sick-leave policies beyond those of any city requirement during these exceptional times. They need to let workers stay home if they are sick to prevent them from infecting others. No one should have to worry about losing a paycheck or their job because they are sick especially during this health emergency. I encourage all essential employers to let employees use additional sick leave if necessary so they can take care of themselves and do not get coworkers or consumers sick.”
“The COVID-19 crisis has shown, yet again, the crucial leadership role that cities and states are playing in protecting their residents and standing up for the most vulnerable,” said Public Rights Project Legal Director Jonathan Miller. “We applaud our partners for ensuring that workers are kept safe and promoting greater public health.”
“While we certainly appreciate the services these companies provide the public at this difficult time, our goal is to ensure they take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of workers on the front-lines of commerce in warehouses and delivery routes across our city and nation,” said Andy Fox, City of Chicago Director of Labor Standards.
“Delivery drivers and all workers in the delivery services industry have always been critical to our country. They provide life-sustaining packages containing food, medicine and other goods,” said Rich Lazer, Deputy Mayor of Labor, City of Philadelphia. “Now they are more important than ever—helping us prevent the spread of COVID-19 by allowing members of the public to stay at home and self-quarantine. Every worker still reporting to their job during this time should be encouraged to stay home when they are sick. Their health and safety should come first—not just right now, but always.”
“Delivery workers’ wellness has never been more important. All companies must embrace all necessary safeguards to ensure delivery workers stay home when sick, including providing sick leave. People doing this work are essential and they deserve to be treated as such,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.
The letter from the cities calls on the companies do the following:
- Communicate to all workers that they are encouraged not to show up for work if they are sick or experiencing even mild symptoms of illness;
- Ensure that all managers and supervisors understand that pressuring workers to show up ill or with symptoms will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action;
- Provide at least 80 hours of dedicated sick time immediately to all workers;
- Allow workers to pool and share additional sick time with one another for COVID-19-related purposes without any restrictions; Guarantee that workers’ will not lose their jobs if they miss work time because they become sick with COVID-19; and
- Follow the example of businesses that are increasing wages for workers who are performing critical services during a national crisis.
DCWP also reminds New Yorkers that they have the right to sick leave and should use it if they are feeling ill. DCWP’s new publication Update about Workplace Laws as NYC Seeks to Stop the Spread of the New Coronavirus (COVID-19) provides an overview of local, state and federal sick leave laws. For more information or to file a complaint about the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, visit nyc.gov/workers or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC). The document also provides a summary of City labor laws for employers and employees’ workplaces deal with the impact of COVID-19. There are also state and federal labor laws that govern NYC workplaces.
NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 75,000 businesses in more than 50 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCWP protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCWP empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCWP and its work, call 311 or visit DCWP at nyc.gov/dcwp or on its social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.