Roy Gilbert

Coronavirus highlights the inequality of who can — and can’t — work from home

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At least 80 people in the U.S. across 13 states have been confirmed to have COVID-19, or coronavirus, according to most recent information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Officials maintain that the immediate risk to the American public, “who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time,” is currently low, but have recommended that some Americans take precautionary “social distancing measures” including, but not limited to, working from home.

The recommendation has highlighted the inequality of who can and can’t work from home.

“Organizations that can provide those options for their employees, I think that’s a good thing to do,” Alexander Colvin, a labor and employment researcher and dean of Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School tells CNBC Make It. “But the reality is that there are lot of workers who won’t have that option, and we need to be concerned about their situation.” Big tech is leading the way

Tech companies like Google , Microsoft and Facebook have publicly stated that workers should feel free to work from home if they feel ill. Twitter is “strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they’re able.”

But this is not the reality for most companies.

A recent report from human resource consulting firm Robert Half found that as many as 90% of workers go to work while under the weather , and according to the most recent American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 24% of working adults do some […]

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