CHICAGO (CBS) — What would happen if more schools suddenly shut down amid the coronavirus outbreak? Do you have a plan for your family and work, and would you get paid if you needed to call in sick?
Those are some of the issues CBS 2 News is tackling as we break down the potential domino effects of the coronavirus. CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov was working Monday evening to get the facts.
With 11 COVID-19 cases now diagnosed in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday wasted no time in issuing a disaster proclamation in the state. Cook County officials issued a similar declaration.
The purpose is not to incite fear, but to get more COVID-19 health.
And that includes looking at how to keep impacted workers from potential financial disaster.
“A disaster proclamation is an operational procedure that opens up a substantial set of federal and state resources and tools,” Gov. Pritzker said.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle took the same proactive step – all to help access additional resources, including those from the federal government – to contain the virus.
But Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the head of the state’s Department of Public Health, said people should be thinking about what it would mean if they are exposed.
“If you are sick and can’t go to work, arranging with your employer the leave; the time off,” Ezike said.
Sick pay and time off, for those who have it and those who may not, is likely a growing concern for many workers. If they have it, is it enough? And what if they do not, like those who live paycheck-to-paycheck?
“There’s no law in those situations, If people are told to stay home, and their employer is not going to voluntarily compensate them, that they’re entitled to any kind of compensation,” said labor employment lawyer Keri-Lyn Krafthefer. “It’s an unprecedented situation.”
And Gov. Pritzker said there are now ongoing discussions on how to help those who might suddenly find themselves forced to stay home and not work because of possible COVID-19 exposure.
“At the state level, we’re looking at unemployment insurance, to see how we can expand it on our own,” Pritzker said.
Legislation has been introduced on Capitol Hill that would require employers to immediately give employees 14 days of sick leave in the case of a public health emergency.
Also Monday, President Donald Trump said there will be meetings on Tuesday about making sure hourly wage earners don’t miss a paycheck.