Flu Season Highlights Disparity in Paid Sick Leave for 1 in 3 U.S. Employees

It doesn’t pay to be sick, at least for nearly one-third of American workers who do not get paid sick days, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and a report in CNN Money. While many employers offer paid sick leave as part of their company benefits policy, with one in three workers not covered by this benefit, this correlates to nearly 41.7 million employees, who if dealing with cold or flu symptoms, do not have the option to stay home sick and receive a full day’s pay.

According to the report, those employees who are in full-time jobs are most likely to receive paid sick leave benefits; however, part-time employees, mostly in lower-wage jobs, and others such as self-employed workers, may not enjoy these same benefits.

With this year’s flu epidemic widespread in some 47 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), many workers have had to struggle with the decision to go to work so as not to lose a pay day; the resulting impact to co-workers who risk getting sick because these employees are forced to go to work cannot be overlooked. Couple this with workers also having to tend to sick children or other family members, and this year’s flu season has caused the perfect storm of events for many American workers.

And with the CDC indicating that the flu season is likely to last several more weeks,  at the very least, more and more Americans will continue to struggle between their need, and healthcare and state-wide recommendations, to stay home or go to work.

Some good news resulting from the above; namely, a renewed push by some states for paid sick leave; with bills being spawned in several states that would require employers to provide time off for sick employees.

One thing is certain, the flu epidemic raging across the nation will continue to fuel national debate.

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