Washington, D.C. — Using new data from the U.S. Census Bureau to examine the impacts of long COVID on the labor market, a new report from the Center for American Progress concludes that Americans are in the thick of a mass disabling event—one of the largest since the AIDS and polio epidemics—due to post-COVID-19 symptoms creating a condition known as long COVID. The report explains that in the face of an increasing casualty count and so-called labor shortages, it is essential that employers reevaluate their workplaces to create more accommodative environments. By centering accommodations and worker benefits that are perceived as only helping disabled workers, workplaces become better for all workers.
Some ways that the report proposes that workplaces can meet the moment and work to re-imagine workplaces for the benefit of all people include:
- Increasing the minimum wage, including eliminating the subminimum wage
- Guaranteeing paid family and medical leave
- Increasing workplace safety standards, including improving air quality standards and avoiding repetitive work injuries
- Passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act
- Strengthening health insurance options outside employer-based health insurance
“The COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented public health epidemic that brought unprecedented consequences, including long-term ones such as long COVID. The pandemic expanded the disability community and forced employers to make adjustments, such as instituting flexible work hours or allowing people to work from home; it also led to a resurgence in support for unions, organizing, and a push for higher wages, but there is no reason to stop there,” said Mia Ives-Rublee, the director for the Disability Justice Initiative at CAP and co-author of the report. “U.S. policymakers, unions, and worker rights groups must work together to meet the moment and realize their capacity to utilize a disability lens to improve workplace protections and benefits, which not only help disabled workers, but also better conditions for all workers.”
Read the report: “Revolutionizing the Workplace: Why Long COVID and the Increase of Disabled Workers Require a New Approach” by Mia Ives-Rublee, Rose Khattar, and Anona Neal
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