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THE OTHER PANDEMIC.most American workers do not have paid sick days, and cannot take time 4 kids

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:02 AM
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from the NEW YORK TIMES:

Judith Warner - A New York Times Blog

April 30, 2009, 9:00 pm <! Updated: 7:16 pm >
A Sick Situation

Early this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that anyone with flu symptoms stay home from work or school.

President Obama reiterated that advice at his press conference on Wednesday night. If you are sick, stay home, he said. If your child is sick, keep them out of school.

I know it sounds trivial, the president said, after asking families to start taking other very sensible precautions like washing hands and covering up during coughs. But it makes a huge difference.

The presidents admonition to the sick to stay home didnt sound trivial to Silvia Del Valle, a 42-year-old restaurant worker in Miami.

It sounded impossible.

When I spoke to her Thursday morning, Del Valle was sick in bed with a cough and a fever. Was she planning to go to work, I asked her, Obamas press conference still fresh in my mind.

Yes, she said. I need to go. Because if I dont go, I lose my job.

Del Valles not alone. Nearly half of all private sector workers in our country more than 59 million people have no paid sick time at all. The problem is particularly acute among women, low-wage workers more than three-quarters of whom have no paid sick days and part-timers.

FULL story at link.

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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:23 AM
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1. And then there are the
Edited on Sat May-02-09 08:24 AM by Coyote_Bandit
1 in 6 Americans that do not have health insurance and lack meaningful access to health care.

And there are also the millions who have only high deductible catstrophic care coverage.

I doubt most of these folks are going to be rushing out to the doctor's office to get some anti-virals if they happen to get the flu.

Our health care system is so fucked up we almost deserve a catastrophic pandemic. Might make those who have access to health care realize just how directly they can be impacted by those who do not.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:35 AM
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2. Knew it was a big problem, didn't know how big. Over half, damn.
But it gets worse. Lots of people WITH sick leave have to provide written evidence from a doctor that they were ill to get the sick leave that is part of their compensation for working. For some, it is a requirement after 3 days off. For some it is required after 2 days and believe it or not, some employers require such 'proof' for ONE DAY take off for illness.

Now, I have YET to live anyplace in America in the past 20 years where I could even GET a doctors appointment within a week of calling to get in when I was sick.

If even half the people who do get sick leave have that same problem (and it does seem likely) that basically means over 3/4 of the working people in this country don't have, or can't use, paid sick leave. That means MOST people have to go to work sick and will be spreading illness to others in the workforce. It amazes me that we aren't all sick all the time. Oh, wait, many of us are.

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Berry Cool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:36 AM
Response to Original message
3. I thought about this "just stay home" advice and I have to admit
that while it might work for me, for many people it is probably as practical as the "leave town before the hurricane strikes" advice before Katrina.

If the flu spreads badly because of people ignoring the advice to stay home from work or keep their kids home (who will care for them?), we will have no one but ourselves to blame. Even our TV commercials encourage people to soldier through a work day despite being sick. (Although, interestingly enough, they just may not be running that Hall's cough drops commercial anymore--you know, the one with the sergeant yelling at the woman to toughen up and continue her workday despite her illness?)
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