WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Employees who do not get paid for sick days are reporting to work ill, raising fears they could be spreading the H1N1 flu virus, U.S. health officials say.
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.