The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis it precipitated have drawn the attention of the public and policy makers to the importance of paid sick leave (PSL) for workers and public health. Many front-line workers, especially in the retail sector, don’t have access to PSL. Workers without PSL, or who fear disciplinary consequences for using PSL, risk being fired if they don’t report to work despite illness, and some cannot afford to miss work.
Studies show that PSL mandates adopted in the U.S. since 2007 have lowered disease and overall absence rates. During the pandemic, PSL contributes to public health by allowing workers who have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 to quarantine, preventing further exposure. PSL can also help to counter the negative economic impact of the pandemic, especially for women and non-white workers, who are bearing the brunt of job loss. Overall, PSL provides significant benefits for companies as well as workers, the public, and the economy.
Kroger and Walmart have adopted COVID-19 emergency sick leave policies that allow employees to take up to 14 days of PSL. Praxis collaborated with investor partners to co-file shareholder proposals encouraging these companies to make this policy permanent and not specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposals specifically ask the companies to report on the feasibility of making PSL a standard employee benefit.
Praxis believes that supporting PSL is one way to build a more equitable world and encourage policy that is beneficial for all stakeholders.
As an investor in Kroger and Walmart through the Praxis Value Index Fund and the Praxis Impact Bond Fund, Praxis engages directly with these and other companies and encourages them to pursue business practices that support positive social change.