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Flu Season Focusing Attention on ‘Paid Sick Day’ Issue

John Moore, Getty Images

This flu season is drawing attention to the issues around mandatory paid sick leave. Not so much for those who have it, but for those who do not.  More than 40 million people in the work force do not have paid sick days. So, when they are sick, if they do not work, they do not get paid. So, for those employees, it is not as easy to ‘just stay home’ when they are sick. It is a balance between taking care of themselves and earning their paycheck.

Supporters and opponents are really paying attention to what is happening in New York City. That is where their lawmakers are weighing a sick leave proposal amid a competitive mayoral race in the city. The increase in the flu this year is making people much more aware of the argument for sick pay. Supporters look at sick time as both a workforce issue akin to parental leave and ‘living wage’ laws’ and a public health priority. However, there is the dollars and cents side of it for the business owners who say paid sick leave is an impractical and unfair burden for small operations.

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