Emily Gallagher, an assistant professor of finance in the real estate track of the Leeds School of Business, can discuss how changes in paid sick leave, especially for those in low-income households, could impact the spread of the virus as well as mortgage and rental delinquencies longer-term.
She can also discuss the economic toll facing small businesses and the unemployed. Gallagher has published three recent studies exploring how health and health insurance impact financial wellbeing.
“Lack of paid sick leave among lower income workers in the U.S., combined with under-insurance, could dramatically exacerbate the virus’ spread and its household financial impact,” she said. “This is a Keynesian moment. The government must spend big to offset a coming drop in demand and keep consumers spending.” Contact:Emily.A.Gallagher@Colorado.EDU
On the proposed paid leave bill: “The bill will help a lot of people. It has some potential issues, but it achieves that immediate goal of getting cash into a lot of people’s hands before rent comes due on April 1. Fiscal policy should be heavily focused on helping hourly workers and as soon as possible."
On the impact on small businesses: “Beyond the immediate paid leave / pay-roll problem, small businesses are going to be hard hit. The government should consider cash assistance to small businesses, not just low-interest (disaster-like) loans.”
On unemployment assistance: “What's really lacking is help for the unemployed. We are likely to see a spike in layoffs in service industries, especially those in travel and dining. As those workers reduce their spending, and skip bill payments, the pain will spread to other industries. A sharp, but temporary, increase in unemployment benefits would help a lot here.”