Skip to main content

Flu virus
This flu virus will make you miserable. But it's policymakers who make you go to work with the flu.
Apparently a major flu outbreak is what it takes to get some attention on the plight of the 40 million American workers who lack paid sick leave. Granted, the attention is more on the public health risks involved when people are forced to choose between staying home when they're sick and paying their bills and less on how much it sucks to have to make that choice, but it's progress. And the facts are compelling:
Employees without sick days are more likely to go to work with a contagious illness, send an ill child to school or day care and use hospital emergency rooms for care, according to a 2010 survey by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center. A 2011 study in the American Journal of Public Health estimated that a lack of sick time helped spread 5 million cases of flu-like illness during the 2009 swine flu outbreak.
Meanwhile, in the United States, only Connecticut, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle have mandatory paid sick leave. A sick leave bill remains stalled in New York City because Council Speaker Christine Quinn won't allow it to come to a vote—even though it has the votes needed to pass and widespread public support. Quinn is making all the usual noises a Democrat afraid to piss off business owners makes about how it would be a burden on small businesses in a difficult economy, but, Columbia University sociologist Shamus Khan writes:
[...] after the city of San Francisco passed a paid-sick-leave bill, it had higher rates of employment compared with its neighboring cities without such a policy. Paid sick leave works. Employees are not only likely to use it, helping stem the spread of disease, they’re also more likely to use preventative-health-care services. The Center for American Progress estimates that universal sick leave could reduce emergency-room visits by 1.3 million per year, saving the U.S. over a billion dollars in medical costs.
Every politician who opposes paid sick leave should first have to eat all their meals in restaurants staffed by cooks and waiters who have the flu, then be required not only to go to work sick but to get to the gym for a solid workout a couple times during the day to better understand what it's like to be a waiter or a cook working with the flu.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 02:37 PM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site