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HR Expert Says Lack of Paid Sick Time Causes Flu to Spread

February 1, 2013 | WMFE -Florida joined the rest of the country in weathering a tough flu season and, while a particularly nasty strain of the flu is making its way through the population, some health officials say another factor that's making the flu outbreak worse is a lack of paid sick time for many Florida workers

Health officials say many workers don’t stay home when they get sick because they don’t have paid sick days and either can’t afford to take the time off or are worried about losing their jobs.

Joyce Chastain is the President of the HR Florida State Council, a group that includes the state’s leaders in human resource management.

“When there are individuals that aren’t offered salary continuation or sick leave, their incentive is to come to work—to work through whatever illness they have. They are also less likely to go to a physician for what’s considered to not be a life threatening illness. So, they may not even know they have the flu.”

Chastain also says waitresses, hotel staff and other tourism workers who have increased contact with visitors are among the most likely to not have paid sick time.

Opponents of paid sick time say would it cost Florida businesses millions of dollars to provide the benefit and would cause some establishments to lay off workers.

Republican State Senator David Simmons of Altamonte Springs says he will propose a bill this year to stop any local government in the state from requiring employers to offer paid sick time to their workers.



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