Chinese officials announced Monday that they would extend the Lunar New Year holiday in an effort to contain the coronavirus. The virus has killed 80 people and infected 2,800 more at a time of year when millions of Chinese people usually travel to celebrate the holiday.
“Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal called China correspondent Jennifer Pak in Shanghai to hear about how the virus is affecting workers.
Whether workers will get paid for the additional days off depends on their industry, Pak said.
“We know that factory workers will be probably hit the hardest because they don’t get paid unless they work,” she said.
The way workers generally get paid for the Lunar New Year is complicated, according to Pak.
“We call this a seven-day holiday, but in actuality only three days are paid.” The other days are made up by working two separate Sundays. “The government is asking businesses to extend this holiday for another week, so of course that’s going to hit businesses.”
Click the audio player above to hear the interview.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
How are Americans feeling about their finances?
Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.
Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.
Are people still waiting for unemployment payments?
Yes. There is no way to know exactly how many people have been waiting for months and are still not getting unemployment, because states do not have a good system in place for tracking that kind of data, according to Andrew Stettner of The Century Foundation. But by his own calculations, only about 60% of people who have applied for benefits are currently receiving them. That means there are millions still waiting. Read more here on what they are doing about it.
What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?
A report out Tuesday from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.
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