By Anne D’Innocenzio
May 19, 2015
NEW YORK — For Shannon Henderson, getting a cold or flu could be the difference between putting food on the table and going hungry.
As a part-time customer service representative at a Wal-Mart in Sacramento, California, Henderson is one of an estimated 40 million American workers for who calling in sick is a luxury. If they don’t work, they don’t get paid.
“I’m super afraid of getting sick,” said Henderson, 29, who slathers on hand sanitizer at work in hopes of fending off illness.
Paid sick leave is the next frontier in the fight for the country’s lowest earners. Some of the same workers’ rights groups that grabbed headlines recently by pushing companies for wage hikes are steering the conversation toward paid sick leave. The debate has caught the attention of governments and companies alike.