According to the CDC, sick restaurant workers who handle food are a major cause of foodborne illness spread. Norovirus, a highly contagious pathogen that causes vomiting and diarrhea, was responsible for 47% of the outbreaks, while salmonella caused 19%. About 41% of the outbreaks were linked to workers handling and contaminating food while sick. However, only 44% of restaurants provided paid sick leave, even though many had policies to prevent sick staff from working. The researchers believe that expanding access to paid sick leave could help discourage sick workers from handling food, ensuring their financial security.

The study also found that there were communication gaps between restaurants and workers. While most restaurants had policies requiring sick staff to inform managers and report symptoms, only 23% specified all five symptoms that should keep someone from working: vomiting, diarrhea, pus-filled wounds, a sore throat with a fever, or jaundice. The CDC recommends implementing comprehensive food safety policies to reduce contamination risks. Additionally, a foodborne illness attorney suggests that restaurant workers receive hepatitis A vaccinations to prevent outbreaks.