Wisconsinite, Wanda Lavender is a manager at a Popeye’s restaurant in Milwaukee where she makes $12 an hour working 40 – 60 hours per week. Recently she had to go into self-quarantine because her son was exposed to a teacher who tested positive for coronavirus.

As a manager, she has some vacation time to see her through the next two weeks, but she is worried about her coworkers who have few options if they are unable to work.
“I worry about them, “ Lavender told the media outlet. “If they have no way to pay their landlords, no way to pay their bills, no way to feed their families.”

The number of COVID-19 cases seem to be rising in the state, which is having an impact on workers who typically work shift-work that doesn’t come with a paid-leave policy.
Justin Otto, 32, works backstage at a large, live-music venue in Milwaukee making $11 an hour, but he recently received an email saying that upcoming shows were being canceled.

The Wisconsin Examiner writes that, “Even before COVID-19 closed down the theater, Otto felt that he could not call in sick to his job without it reflecting badly on his work ethic from management’s perspective. His other option — to work sick around coworkers and patrons — wasn’t one he felt good about either. “Getting paid sick leave for people like me is about being able to stay home sick,” he adds.

Lavender said she has been a community advocate for paid sick leave and a leader in the Fight for $15 movement to raise the minimum wage.

“It’s shameful it takes a public health crisis to bring attention to this,” adds Lavender. “We need paid sick leave for all workers and we need it yesterday.”

Read more about how shift-workers in Wisconsin are being impacted by the lack of a paid sick leave policy in Wisconsin.