Paid Sick Days: Sick at work

When the first cases of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) were confirmed in America back in April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that sick individuals stay home from work or school.

“Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people,” the CDC said. “If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.” However, for many Americans, staying home from work due to illness — or to care for a sick child — is an impossibility because of a lack of job-protected paid sick days.

The Healthy Families Act (HFA), which is also before Congress, would guarantee seven paid sick days per year to all workers at firms with 15 or more employees. “Paid sick days has always been a good, common sense idea, but, in light of the recent H1N1 epidemic, it has also become a necessary one,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), an HFAÂ sponsor. “Right when more and more workers are feeling economically vulnerable and afraid to even miss one workday, we face an extraordinarily serious health risk that spreads much more quickly if the sick do not stay at home.” November 10th, the Obama administration officially agreed, and endorsed the HFA.

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