START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Flu Outbreak + No Paid Sick Days, No Healthcare = Disaster


Health & Wellness  (tags: abuse, AlternativeMed, children, CDC, disease, environment, flu, government, healthcare, investigation, medicine, prevention, protection, research, risks, safety, society, treatment )

Kit
- 709 days ago - commondreams.org
The flu outbreak sweeping the nation is putting the spotlight on how the lack of paid sick days and lack of national healthcare put public health further at risk.



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

Comments

Kit B. (276)
Monday January 14, 2013, 3:14 pm
(Photo: Sergio Alvarez )


The flu outbreak sweeping the nation is putting the spotlight on how the lack of paid sick days and lack of national healthcare put public health further at risk.

If you have the flu, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Flu.gov site:

"you should stay home and follow your health care provider’s recommendations."

And the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC)

"recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities."

Yet roughly 41.7 million workers in the US -- about one in three -- have no paid sick days, and getting medical care is out of reach for the millions of Americans who have no healthcare.

The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel described paid sick days as "the kind of pro-family policy that we should be able to take for granted in a civilized democracy."

But for the millions of workers without paid sick days, the ability to stay home from work for a day or more without pay is simply not an economic possibility, so they show up to work sick and risk infecting others.

Ellen Bravo, who directs Family Values @ Work, writes that workers showing up sick is all too common as they may fear not only loss of wages but may also face the threat of losing their jobs for taking the day off:

"

The fear is real. University of Chicago researchers found nearly one in five workers reported that they or a family member had been fired, suspended, punished or threatened with being fired for taking time off due to personal illness or to care for a sick child or other relative.

And job loss isn't the only fear. In this economy, who can afford to lose even one day's pay?

Ask the people who serve our food, clean our offices, and care for our elderly. They're among those -- half the workforce and three fourths of low-wage workers -- who lack paid sick days.

As a Miami cook put it, "Every penny goes somewhere. I have no choice but to suck it up if I'm sick."

More than one-third of flu cases are transmitted in schools and workplaces. Those same Chicago researchers asked respondents, "Have you ever had to go to work when you were sick with a contagious illness like the flu?" Nearly 70 percent of those lacking paid sick days answered, "Yes."

Single-payer advocate Donna Smith echoes Bravo, and tells Common Dreams that the CDC is completely out of touch with the plight of millions of workers, and blasts "unbridled profit-making" that comes above human needs:

Whenever I hear the head of the CDC or another public health spokesperson say that Americans ought to stay home when they get sick to avoid spreading the flu, I can’t help but think how out of touch with reality they must be to think most of us can do that. A huge number of working class people have no paid sick leave and they cannot afford to lose pay if they miss work time. Millions of others are afraid because if they dare to get sick and actually use the leave time, there will be consequences at the workplace that can range from angry co-workers who were called to fill in to angry bosses who question an employee’s work ethic. America is not a place where even a public health emergency stands in the way of unbridled profit-making potential. It might be more honest for the CDC head to suggest ways to work sick – at least that would be realistic

But Economist Barbara Morgan and Economic Policy Institute vice president Ross Eisenbrey say you only need to look at San Francisco to see how paid sick days are a wise investment:

The first jurisdiction to set a paid sick days standard was San Francisco, where employers have been required to offer paid leave since 2007. Surveys show workers’ lives improved, businesses succeeded, and two-thirds of employers support the city’s sick-days ordinance. Fears that the law would impede job growth were never realized. In fact, during the last five years, employment in San Francisco grew twice as fast as in neighboring counties that had no sick leave policy. San Francisco’s job growth was faster, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, even in the food service and hospitality sector, which is dominated by small businesses and seen as vulnerable to additional costs.

* * * Good links within article* * *

by: Andrea Germanos, staff writer | Common Dreams |
 

Vicky P. (466)
Monday January 14, 2013, 3:42 pm
sad state the US is in
 

JL A. (276)
Monday January 14, 2013, 4:23 pm
Thanks Kit--it is why cities have been addressing this issue and need (it is a drain on city and country public health budgets) when their states and the country have refused to act despite the research demonstrating such policies actually enhance productivity for businesses (productivity=profits) besides the morale improvements. Sure wish I had a green star to send your way.
 

Jennifer C. (169)
Monday January 14, 2013, 4:37 pm
Thanks.
 

Dandelion G. (384)
Monday January 14, 2013, 5:28 pm
The article read:

Yet roughly 41.7 million workers in the US -- about one in three -- have no paid sick days, and getting medical care is out of reach for the millions of Americans who have no healthcare.

The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel described paid sick days as "the kind of pro-family policy that we should be able to take for granted in a civilized democracy."

My comment:

You would think, but then we don't live in a very civilized society. Not when profit at all costs over people exists.

I was told a story awhile back of a woman who had worked almost 20 years at one place serving food. She never had a day off as the place always was closed on Mondays, the only day they were allowed off. She asked for one day to drive her daughter to hospital for some major surgery and to be there for her. This almost 20 year loyal worker was denied the day off, and told if she took it she'd be fired. She took it anyways and they kept their word and fired her. So much for loyalty after laboring for them for almost 20 years. Talk about cold.

 

Sue D. (150)
Monday January 14, 2013, 6:38 pm
Anyone who has to work for a living and is not even paid a living wage is in this 'over a barrel' position. It is a perfect storm for wealthy and businesses. They are not feeling the same distress as the common worker, and they know it - but they really don't care. The more easily an employee can be demoted, fired, laid-off or penalized, the more advantage they gain. For every worker that loses a job, there are at least 50 "fresh fish" to fry (willingly) for that job, simply because a crap job is better than no job. I find it incredibly sad that everything Dandelion said is correct. There is no civilized society in this country any more and the stories like she mentioned are more common than not. I wish it weren't so.
 

Mitchell D. (132)
Monday January 14, 2013, 6:52 pm
This is related to the Fat Cat issue, as in industry taking anything it can from the very people who create its wealth.
This is also something one must think about when admiring the demise of the Union movement. With a stronger union movement we might all have paid sick leave. So, on one hand I am rooting for a strong flu movement in the "Right to Work" states, so the folks there can feel the pain of their oxymoron imbecility, and kick their poiticos out.
 

Angelika R. (144)
Monday January 14, 2013, 7:19 pm
it is sickening-literaly- the sad truth of this article as well as my comments disappearing AGAIN.
 

Dandelion G. (384)
Monday January 14, 2013, 7:53 pm
Mitchell, it's the people who are conditioned so much by their employers to think, that if there is time off, if there is Unions, that jobs will fold. So they scare the people into fearing that the little they have will be taken if they go up against it.

The only people who will suffer in the "right to work" States will be the low wage workers and many serving you food and checking you out at the stores. Those with a better education have either better wage to be able to take the day off or even have medical care. Those in the Government have the ability to have time off and medical care.

In Florida, a State that has a lot of low wage service industry jobs, food, hotel, in the tourist industry, a major flu epidemic will not change the people. They will worry more about how to pay their rent rather than why is all this happening in the labor force to begin with. We are also a State who voted Democrate in the last two elections, we are also registering more Democrats than Republicans. Despite all, we are still a "right to work" State. States like Michigan, that had strong Labor Unions, has recently become a "right to work" State by underhandedness.

As with everything, education is key, if people believe the lies spread by those keeping them under the thumb then there needs to be a better job at educating them. There is a lot of corruption going on, if people are not aware of it then that too needs to have light shed upon it. Wishing more ill upon a people already suffering is not the way to go about it.

I've a daughter that has been out of work so long that when she was finally offered a job she gladly accepted it with such low wage. One can not understand how after being turned down for over 2 years for any type of work that the self esteem goes along with feeling that one is never going to be able to re-enter the job market again.

All the time Management kept reminding her and everyone that if they did one thing out of line they wouldn't have a job tomorrow. They would come out with stacks of applications in their hand saying, see these people will be more than happy to fill your shoes. This establishment broke all sorts of labor laws, not only did they not allow days off the employees were forbidden to have breaks or even be able to have lunch or dinner.

She spoke on this and was told on a 3rd warning for anything her job was gone. That was her first warning, that she had mentioned about labor laws, she was told they didn't apply to them as they were not full time employees. The second warning she was seen rehydrating herself as she wasn't given any breaks and was needing some water as she wasn't well and had been rushed to the hospital the day before. The Doctor told her to rest, I told her she was compromising her health going in, she cried, "Mom I have to go in, they'll fire me if I don't and this is the first job I've had in over 2 years that wasn't temporary for a few weeks over holidays, I've no choice." (It ended they had lied to the people about ongoing work)

The 3rd warning she was fired for not having her belt on despite the fact her pants were fine and they waited until she had worked all night New Years Eve, was in early New Years Day with no breaks, no lunch, no dinner, end of night she was fired. This was after she and all other employees had been told they had to work Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, Thanksgiving. Now all the holidays were gone, a bunch of them were fired for minor things, two for wearing the wrong color socks after they were told to raise their pant leg so they could see the socks. Meaning no customer saw they didn't have black socks on. Kitchen help was also fired for same minor things, they used the employees, said they had ongoing jobs unless they were fired (as I said the whip was shown frequent) and then it turns out that Management had only hired extra to work the holidays after all.

This place has been reported to many agencies but do you really think an outbreak of the flu is going to give my daughter back her job or help the people who are now hired to fill her position and the others fired for the wrong color socks? It isn't so simple, this will take a long hard battle, and the flu will only make a bad situation worse.
 

Arielle S. (317)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 6:39 am
And yet the GOP still fight ObamaCare - I knew a gay American working in Germany who had aids. Not only were ALL his medicines paid for, but he had tons of sick leave, and alternative medicines were also covered for him. Here we have situations like Dandelion's daughter - and millions of people going to work sick, spreading their germs to one and all....
The only positive in all this is that the pendulum does eventually swing the other way....
 

Justin M. (2)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 11:04 am
Noted
 

Gene Jacobson (256)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 1:00 pm
"Whenever I hear the head of the CDC or another public health spokesperson say that Americans ought to stay home when they get sick to avoid spreading the flu, I can’t help but think how out of touch with reality they must be to think most of us can do that. A huge number of working class people have no paid sick leave and they cannot afford to lose pay if they miss work time. Millions of others are afraid because if they dare to get sick and actually use the leave time, there will be consequences at the workplace that can range from angry co-workers who were called to fill in to angry bosses who question an employee’s work ethic. America is not a place where even a public health emergency stands in the way of unbridled profit-making potential. It might be more honest for the CDC head to suggest ways to work sick – at least that would be realistic."

I started out to comment on the beginning of the story but this is the real unvarnished truth. I have been seeing this "advice" for a few years now - no more of that "I work every day no matter what and I don't care how many of my co-workers I infect" thinking, now it is said that it is selfish and uncaring to bring a germ to work. But that's it. It is said. In far too many places, including ALL of those places where there is NO sick leave or no permanent employees so they employer can avoid paying benefits of any kind, the reality is, you work or you don't pay your rent or car payment or food or school lunches or anything else. For all those people working two or more part time jobs, they work or they get fired. This "don't come to work sick" only works in enlightened companies who actually CARE about their employees - there aren't many of those left, they started dying off the day the first company decided they would no longer fund promised pensions or health care for retirees and began outsourcing jobs and hiring only part time workers. This is a nice idea, a smart idea, a healthy idea and in far too many situations, a completely implausible one as well. You work or they fire you. There is no employee loyalty to companies anymore because employers threw loyalty to their employees out with the trash beginning in the 1970's. This short sighted, no, STUPID policy could wipe out half the country were a true plague to hit us, it would spread like wildfire and who would we have to thank? Overpaid, underhumanized CEO's and HR drones.

No one is efficient when ill, nor as productive, it does no good to spread a virus through an entire company to prove how tough you are, or the company is. It is counter productive to make employees work when ill. It is morale damaging to fire people for being sick or staying home to take care of the next generation of "leaders" who are not yet old enough to fire people on their own as they still need help tying their shoes. THIS is why we need more than Obamacare, we need nationalized medicine like most civilized nations. Anything less is putting bandaids on gaping wounds. And, yes, we ARE that stupid. We prove it every day, or at least our "leaders" do with their archaic and inhumane personnel policies. I'd say a pox on them all but they've probably already got that and are working anyway...

 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 5:54 pm
I know what that's like. I was in and out of the country for many years and I often had to take jobs where i could find them. I didn't have the luxury of being sick and there was the odd time I had to work even though I didn't want to.
 

Suheyla C. (228)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 1:16 am
Thank you Kit
noted
 
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story


Loading Noted By...Please Wait

 

 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.