CARACAS, Venezuela — On many days, Ramon Medina has no choice but to skip work to make ends meet.
Like around half of Venezuelans, he earns the minimum wage — about $3 a month — so whenever his cellphone buzzes with a tip, he sneaks away from his job as a hospital orderly for the chance of taking home a government-supplied food bag on which he depends to feed his family.
On any given day, he estimates a third of his co-workers at Vargas Hospital are also stepping out for a side job or spending hours in line to buy goods. That leaves few back in the hospital caring for sick patients, he said.
Along with four-digit inflation, shortages and a recession, Venezuela’s economy is being ravaged by a new scourge: mass absenteeism.