The Chrysalis Foundation's Response to COVID-19
- Filed under "safety"
- Published Wednesday, March 25, 2020
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With rapidly-changing warnings about the effect of the coronavirus (which causes the respiratory illness Covid-19), we’re all tuned in to the CDC and public health warnings about working remotely, staying home if you’re ill, keeping children at home, and avoiding large groups of people. These are just a few of the measures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended to arrest dissemination of the virus.
Practical solutions for many, but not so if your job is in a restaurant, hotel, day care center, or cleaning company. Employees in service industries are much less likely to have paid time off, sick leave, employer-provided insurance, or the ability to work from home. And many of these workers’ jobs involve continued contact with people – leaving them extremely vulnerable to illness and to the ripple of effects of unpaid time off, closed schools and day care centers, and loss of income…sometimes, loss of employment. These circumstances also place greater burdens on the nonprofit organizations that work with women and families most affected.
Inequality rears its ugly face in times like this, and its impact cuts deeply across the same social issues as often are present: lack of education or income, racial and gender oppression, discrimination. Here is an example scenario:
Melissa is a restaurant worker in Des Moines. She has no paid sick leave or health insurance. Because Des Moines schools will be closed, as a single mother she has no child care. A day off work means losing around $100 in pay, and if she has to take more than a few days off, it means losing her job. The restaurants where she has worked are always understaffed, cannot call in back-up workers quickly, and expect her to show up for work “unless she’s dying,” she says. Melissa is also less likely to seek medical care if or when she becomes ill, nor does she have the ability or access to preventive healthcare that could keep her well.
(Currently, there is no Iowa law that requires employers to provide employees sick leave – paid or unpaid. And although Iowa employers must abide by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave with the right to reinstatement, only businesses that have at least 50 employees are subject to the FMLA.)
- The Chrysalis Office is closed. Chrysalis staff will work remotely and conduct business through online and telephone conferencing.
- Chrysalis 2020 Conversations Speaker Series plans will be modified if necessary in the interest of public health and as recommended by public health experts.
- Meetings and educational activities will continue through online and teleconference communications channels.
- We continue to plan our 2020 INSPIRED Event featuring Sunny Hostin on Friday, October 9, 2020, and will modify plans if necessary.
- We will communicate to you via social media and through our website, providing updates as they occur.
Chrysalis is committed to working on these issues so that when events like COVID-19 happen, our community is better equipped to support those that are of greatest need. We are in this together.