While this bill will help solve some of the problems associated with the spread of H1N1 and other diseases due to presenteeism, it is an initial solution to an urgent and costly problem.
Every day in this country, sick workers take our subways, handle our food, and in other ways spread disease because they cannot afford to lose pay by staying home when they are sick. Similarly, workers without paid sick days have no choice but to send sick children to school and day care, because they cannot miss a day’s pay while they care for them. The Emergency Influenza Containment Act would begin to provide partial relief.
The paid sick days law America needs will go further than this initial bill. It will allow workers, not employers, to decide when they are too sick to work — and are healthy enough to return to work. It will cover caregiving, so parents can stay home with sick kids without risking their family’s economic security. And it will provide job security for workers who are too sick to come to work.
America’s workers deserve a minimum standard of paid sick days. The Emergency Influenza Containment Act is a first step, and we look forward to working with Congressman George Miller to ensure that this legislation provides workers with the right to decide when to take a paid sick day, allows working parents to care for sick children, and protects workers’ jobs when they are sick."
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.