Workers who deal with the public, such as waiters and child care employees, often come in to their jobs sick because they can't afford to miss the pay -- a workforce that includes tens of millions of American employees -- and health officials say that's a danger to the public, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
"For people who are really caught on a weekly income, if they can't make a go of it, they might say, 'I'm desperate. I'm going to do what I have to do, and I'm going into work even though I'm sick,'" Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy at Harvard University, told the newspaper, adding that such workers will also send their flu-stricken children to school, infecting others.
"Providing workers with paid sick days is essential if we're going to get serious about the public health recommendations for swine flu -- stay home until 24 hours after your fever is broken. That usually takes about five days," added Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.