H1N1 a Challenge for Working Mothers

Lisa Glass’ daughter had a fever last Sunday. On Monday, the doctor started her on TAMIFLU. Tuesday afternoon, Glass’ son was feverish. He tested positive for H1N1 swine flu. Wednesday morning, Glass’ youngest child tested positive. Because her children were sick, Glass, who is a public relations manager for Hoovers, missed work on Monday and Thursday. Her husband, a police officer, stayed home with the children Tuesday and Wednesday. The couple was still negotiating who would stay home Friday.


Glass says she is lucky to work for a company that is very flexible and to have a job she can do from home. But many working mothers don’t have that luxury. More than half of all women workers hold sales, clerical and service jobs. These jobs rarely come with the flex benefits of working from home. Taking sick leave isn’t always an option either. Approximately 57 million Americans, 22 million of them women, have no paid sick days.


The government website Flu.gov offers this advice to parents, “If working from home is not possible, plan ahead for child care at home if your child gets sick or their school is dismissed.” For many parents, that means cobbling together a network of sitters, neighbors, friends, older siblings and sick daycare centers. It means taking unpaid time off, asking coworkers to cover shifts, and in some cases, masking fevers with Motrin and sending sick children to school.


There is legislation pending that could help working parents.  The Healthy Families Act would require employers with 15 or more full-time employees to provide at least seven paid sick days a year, and allow employees to use the time off to meet their own medical needs or to care for the medical needs of certain family members. 


The H1N1 virus is not just a health issue. It is a social and an economic issue. Working parents need options to care for their sick children without the fear of losing their daily wages or perhaps their jobs. Click here to send a letter to your Senators urging them to support paid sick days.




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Liz O'Donnell


John Kyle Rhodes
Past Member 7 years ago

Everyone spread the word
Google Bootstraps Fisher Ron Paul 2012

pamela r.
pamela r7 years ago

We all remember what its like to be sick and have mom near us to make us feel better, or even dad, if you have a drs. note you should get paid for staying home with that sick child.

dell d.
dell d7 years ago

i dont think so! it's not safe!! never will be.

Nakisha A.
Nakisha A7 years ago

I'm sorry, did you say to give your kids Motrin and then send them to school sick anyways???? How can you say that? I run a daycare and have called parents to come get their kids because they are sick. My own child has been sick and I've had to close because of it. Please don't do that, it puts the health of other kids in danger not to meantion that of the person that is suppose to be watching them. Stay home with them or find someone.
Sorry to offend anyone but that's just how I feel. I've lost a lot of money in the last week but that's the messed up health system we have.

Jennifer R.
Jennifer R7 years ago

Stay at home moms don't get paid sick leave, either. And we never ever get to call in sick to our job, with or without pay.

Aod D.
Amberlee B7 years ago

Actually Brenda, I hear that is a possibility. It used to be that you could quarantine yourself in your home, but the govt is discussing forcing you to get the shot or go to jail....and I don't mean with your kids.

Brenda P.
Brenda P7 years ago

I will not get the shot!! What are they going to do? Put me in jail?

Genevieve H.
Genevieve H7 years ago

In Europe this would not be a problem at all. It's surprising workers don't get this right yet in America. Good luck with all that, and changing your health care system too.

Bernardette Genovese

What does it mean - not paid for being sick ?? I am starting to think I was born in the right country after all. If your sickness is documented by a Medical Doctor thus excusing you from work you should get paid. In my European country the employer covers the first three days of sickness and Social Services cover the rest. But you are NOT punished for being unwell. In cases of family sickeness you can take vacation leave (24 days per year).

Helen T.
Helen T7 years ago

I don't have a problem with getting the shot. The problem is potential negative career consequences involved with sick children. I used to work for a major telecom in a call center and witnessed my co-workers being placed on progressive discipline when their children fell ill. FMLA is a joke.