Article

Flawed Flu Prescription

With more than 400 schools closed today due to the H1N1 flu virus, the Obama administration has yet to tell employers they should let parents stay home with their children without suffering pay loss or other penalties. What do we expect these parents to do? Most parents work--just three children in ten have a stay-at-home parent--and many do not have the right to paid sick days. Yet we keep hearing that if people don't feel well, they shouldn't go out and potentially give others H1N1.

With more than 400 schools closed today due to the H1N1 flu virus, the Obama administration has yet to tell employers they should let parents stay home with their children without suffering pay loss or other penalties. What do we expect these parents to do? Most parents work–just three children in ten have a stay-at-home parent–and many do not have the right to paid sick days. Yet we keep hearing that if people don’t feel well, they shouldn’t go out and potentially give others H1N1.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is certainly correct to encourage sick people to stay home from work or school as a precaution to prevent the spread of the virus. But given the reality of the US workplace, this is a fairly meaningless recommendation. The reason: the CDC is not asking employers to give their employees the right to take a day off if they are sick.

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Authors

Heather Boushey

Senior Fellow

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