BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Are You Prepared for Flu Season?

Posted by espressodog on September 10, 2009

No matter how many years you have been out of school, September will always mean back-to-school time. This year in addition to school supplies and after-school schedules, everyone should be making H1N1 (aka: swine flu ) plans.

The Centers for Disease Control has said that if you or your children have symptoms of an influenza-like illness, that you should stay home from work and/or keep your children and grandchildren home from school until at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.

Now is the time to review your company sick leave policy. Regardless of the size of the business or the function or services that you provide, all employers should allow and encourage sick workers to stay home without fear of losing their jobs. Employers should develop plans for managing both seasonal and swine flu including encouraging employees who are at-risk for swine flu (pregnant women, health care workers and younger adults) to get the regular flu vaccine AND the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it becomes available in October. The Obama Administration has also gotten on the flu-prevention bandwagon with the creation of the website www.flu.gov.

Public health experts all say one of the best ways to reduce the spread of influenza is to keep sick people away from well people. Which is fine but what if you can’t afford to take the time off? Nearly half of private sector workers do not have a single day of paid sick leave. That is why BPW Foundation supports the Healthy Families Act and its goal to guarantee full time workers seven (7) paid sick days each year. Currently there are no state or federal laws that guarantee all workers a minimum number of paid sick days. The lack of this benefit hurts working women, men and families and has forced millions of Americans to choose between their paychecks and their health or the health of a family member.

Paid sick day legislation has been proposed or enacted at the federal, state, and local levels. Thirteen states have proposed legislation for paid sick days (CA, CT, FL, MA, ME, MO, NC, NY, OH, PA, TN, VT, WV) and three municipalities have passed paid sick days legislation (San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC; and Milwaukee, WI). Although Milwaukee’s plan is in trouble.

Paid sick days are important to BPW Foundation because it is important to the health and well-being of families and workplaces. CEO Deborah L. Frett testified before U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections in support of paid sick days back in June. Check out the press release and written testimony from the hearing.

Tell us what you think. Do you support a law to guarantee that workers receive a minimum numbers of paid sick days from their employer?

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One Response to “Are You Prepared for Flu Season?”

  1. Ali said

    I think a mother (or father) of a sick child should also be able to stay home with her child if he/she gets sick, without having to choose between the paycheck or the health of the child. That way less sick children would be sent to school, though preventing the spread of a disease among other children and families…

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