Monday, January 14, 2013

No paid sick days = national flu epidemic

One in three working Americans doesn't get paid sick days.

A national flu outbreak is widening. (And people are dying.)

Does anyone see a connection between these two things?

Debra L. Ness does. She's the president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. She argues in a Huffington Post piece that Congress should pass a national sick days standard, the way Connecticut, Seattle, San Francisco, Milwaukee and Washington, D.C. have., Ness writes:
...some are already comparing this year's outbreak to the H1N1 pandemic of 2009. 
Story after story carries the common-sense recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that people who are feeling sick should stay home. The CDC includes this as a foremost component of flu treatment and prevention. 
But what many don't realize is that staying home when you're sick is a privilege in this country -- one that more than 40 percent of the private sector workforce does not have because no matter how long they hold their jobs or how hard they work, they can't earn a single paid sick day. Millions more can't earn any paid sick days to use to care for a sick child or family member.
She advocates the Healthy Families Act, which would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days a year.

You can tell your representative in Congress that you want such a bill passed. Or you can join the Dignity at Darden campaign to help workers at restaurants like Olive Garden and Red Lobster get paid sick days.

And you can go out and get a flu shot, if you haven't already.