Discussion Paper

COVID-19, Workers, and Policy

Abstract: As coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) spreads around the world and across the United States, many policymakers and public health officials are encouraging employers to tell workers to work remotely or to stay home when they or their family members are sick. There are significant questions, though, about how many people can work from home. Many U.S. workers in retail, restaurants, manufacturing, and other occupations cannot do so. This Workforce Currents post will explore who can work from home and identify practices and policies to support workers who cannot work from home in the event of a pandemic like COVID-19. It will end with a policy focus on the potential of short-time compensation as a response to workers who have to self-quarantine.

Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; workers;

JEL Classification: J81; J83;


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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Part of Series: Workforce Currents

Publication Date: 2020-03-18

Number: 2020-02