September 28, 2009

Many lack sick leave as flu season looms

Nearly half of U.S. workers have no paid sick leave -- a problem that could worsen the spread of the fall flu season, officials said.

A child can't stay home without a parent staying with them. So if the parent doesn't have paid sick time, the child mostly likely goes to school, and the parent goes to work, said Shula Warren, chief of staff for New York City council member Gale Brewer.

The second sweep this year of the H1N1 flu virus has re-ignited arguments about how much sick leave employers should offer and whether it should be mandated by law, reported Monday.

San Francisco and Washington, D.C., have laws requiring paid sick leave and 15 states are considering legislation for paid sick leave -- a benefit not available to an estimated 48-percent of the U.S. work force, the National Partnership for Women and Families said.

Many business groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, oppose such legislation as harmful to small business, reported.