Daily Archives: January 19, 2022

Dear Workforce Member: The Definition of “Acceptable Damage” Has Been Escalated

The news that the University of Vermont Health Network will force workers to use up their vacation and sick days if they get Covid is bad enough. What’s worse is the implicit message about the future of the disease.

“While the UVM Health Network understands that this is a change, as we enter the third year of the pandemic with a realization that COVID-19 will become endemic, UVMHN needed a policy that could be sustainable and offered for the long term,” UVM Health Network spokesperson Annie Mackin wrote in an email.

Worth noting that “this is a change” is a totally vanilla way of saying “we’re sticking it to all of you.” Beyond that, the message is that after pandemic transitions to endemic, the ravages of Covid-19 will be impactful enough to warrant a permanent change in workplace policy. Even when “pandemic” is nothing but a memory, a lot of workers will still get sick enough to use up their paid time off.

For those who believed that we were going to come out of this unscathed — that “endemic” meant our lives could return to normal — this is a chilling concept. Kinda provides a bit of unpleasant context for Gov. Phil Scott’s sweet-talk about the endemic phase. We might be wearing N95s and thinking twice about entering public spaces for a long, long time. Like, indefinitely.

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