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November 5th, 2009
09:07 AM ET

Emergency Sick Leave

Congressman George Miller has introduced the H1N1 flu emergency sick leave bill.

The legislation would grant five days of sick leave a year if an employer directs a sick worker to stay home or go home.

It would apply to companies with 15 or more employees that do not already provide that amount of sick leave. Part-time workers would also be eligible on a prorated basis. The emergency law would sunset after 2 years. But businesses would have to foot the bill.

Do you think Congress should pass a bill mandating that employers grant their workers emergency sick leave?

Post your comments below. Heidi will read some of them in the Newsroom from 9am to 11am ET.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Stephen Marr

    I dislike having government telling businesses what to do. However, truth be told most companies would not comply given the choice. Simply put, "Those that have are too willing to use those that don't have to get more." It is in that very nature of business that has forced the government to protect a persons Civil Liberties, fights against discrimination and ensures a common wage rate and safe working conditions. The government fights the depth of business greed.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  2. joanne stratton

    NO! NO! NO1

    November 5, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  3. Kristen

    This story made me feel nauseated, and not from the swine flu. The fact that SICK workers EVER have to fear losing their jobs or not making enough money due to illness is absolutely appalling.

    I cry for the state of this country, and the fact that I know firsthand the complications of people coming to work sick because they don't have sick days. They infect the entire office because they have no other choice.

    This country needs help - urgently.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  4. David Piller

    Just another entitlement in what has become an entitlement society.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  5. jared h

    I think it is inappropriate for congress to pass such a measure that targets a specific condition. What, no paid sick leave for cancer or IBS? If sick leave legislation is passed, it should not discriminate on condition.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  6. Brad Doran

    This legislation is another outright assault on the consumer by Washington. What magic hat do they think businesses are going to pull this money out of? In the end it's the consumer that pays, that is that.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  7. Bob Stafford

    If some kind of tax credit could help out those small businesses who grant "stay home" status to its employees for sicknessess. A small business could then afford to help out those ailing employees and at the same time protect its customers and other employees.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  8. Jay - Richmond, VA

    NO! I support health reform. I support a public option. This, however, is over the top. The government needs to focus on making more vaccines available.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  9. Richard Ahern

    As usual, a Democrat congressman wants to give workers a holiday with pay. Is there any way of verifying the employee has H1N1?

    November 5, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  10. Joe Martinez

    Some people would consider the Swine Flu an "act of God". Why should any government be responsible?????

    If a person or family has not put away 5 days of pay, why should the employer foot the bill?????

    November 5, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  11. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Emergency sick leave sounds like a great idea for the employer because if that one sick person comes to work and makes every one else sick then the whole operation is going to have to shut down .

    November 5, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  12. David

    I think that, although a "kind" sentiment, congress has no business giving away paid sick days for empoyees that employers and not congress will have to pay for.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  13. Rev. Stephen Bell

    It is hard enouh on families who must deal with limited time given for sick leave with pay, but to add this threat and then force them to use FMLA and suffer without pay. WHen there is an emergency we must respond to the emergency in a proper and humane fashion and in this case that is passing this law.

    Rev. Stephen Bell

    November 5, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  14. Tom

    That thief who calls himself a Congressman should resign, cash in all his equity and donate it to reduce the public debt.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  15. Bill K.

    I think some workers will abuse the sick leave, however, for the greater good I think it should be passed.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  16. Allan, NYC

    As an employer, I can tell you that Congressman Miller's legislation ensures that all of my employees will come down with H1N1 at some point during the flu season. This bill is fraught with potential for fraud.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  17. John

    GM sent home workers and paid them and this caused their business to go bankrupt. This will cause more workers to be laid off. No more mandates on already strapped business'.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  18. Sasha

    While I'm not a huge fan of the government stepping in and telling businesses they have to provide sick leave, it's something that businesses should have for their employees anyway. If I owned a business, I can't imagine not having this benefit for my employees, because, quite frankly, I don't want them spreading around disease to coworkers and customers – that's FAR more expensive in the long run.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  19. Neda Caneva

    the lowest pay workers are the once who have the least benefits, and they are the people who can not afford not to work, because they have bills to pay. There should be some kind of mandate. probably it would be more fair if we have a fund (just like social security) that everybody contributes to and it pays for sick days.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  20. Arielle Thibodeaux

    I feel it is essential for employers to provide sick leave to employees especially considering how many Americans are being told to stay home when sick. Many of us cannot afford to stay home. The economic cost of an employee coming to work and infecting others will be far greater than the sick leave pay.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  21. Kevin M

    It is a great idea in principle, but it will end up being an abused system that employees can take advantage of to still get their pay. Companies need to offer their employees sick leave on there own, but if they don't and this passes it will costs them a lot more.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  22. Mike from San Diego

    Unless the bill can somehow mandate that sick workers to stay home and avoid contact with all other people, it seems like a waste of employer money.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  23. Jennifer Norris

    I had H1N1 flu and I really think CNN is making much to do about nothing. It is 10 days of feeling very sick not unlike pneumonia. CNN must have a financial deal with big pharma as they spend many hours a day selling their shot that has missed the outbreak. I never had a day of paid sick leave in my career, it would be great to have that benefit but don't tag it on to your fear mongering reporting. Please get back to reporting global news and stop politicizing the flu.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  24. Michael

    Nice thought, but not well thought out. This would amount to another unfunded mandate on hospitals and emergency centers. Many healthcare employees do no receive sick pay. Forcing hospitals and practices to pay for such a mandate will stretch already thin resources during this flu outbreak. Furthermore, it will discourage employeers from sending people home since they will have to pay them not to work.

    From Michigan

    November 5, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  25. Brandt Bridges

    You are exactly right; the people that are in a position to expose the most people to the virus (i.e. waiters, bartenders, etc.) are the same people that are the least able to afford an unpaid sick day. As a result, driven by the absolute necessity to pay the rent, pay for child care, buy groceries, all with limited means to start with, these people will go to work no matter how sick they are to preserve their mode of living.

    Something must be done.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  26. Kitzi Tucker

    Every job should have sick leave for h1n1. It's better to save lives then to lose them. When its not necessary. Were losing people of all ages and races. What about the kids who are just beginning to live

    November 5, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  27. Amanda Brown

    Ridiculous! You either suck it up or stay home. The government needs to stop babying the population; this type of "support" is contributing to the weak nature of society.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  28. Dave from PA

    If the employee comes to work and is sent home its already too late. Someone else will become infected from this person. The sick leave should be taken by the employee but only reimbursed if they produce a document from the Dr. that verifies H1N1. My wifw works for a company that does not provide sick leave nd she has to feel really bad to take time off. However some of her coworkers come to work no matter how sick they are and this includes the owners of the company. It used to be heroic ti work through sickness but now it's just plain thoughtless and selfish.... Dave from PA

    November 5, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  29. David

    This administrations is going to make it impossible to run a business in this country.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  30. Amelia Ortega

    Of course, there will have to be some help for employees to stay home when they become sick with H1N1. They rightfully have to worry they could lose their job in this bad economy. And for some, the loss of income is a very real and impossible hardship. Both those concerns force sick workers to stay on the job endangering all their coworkers. This legislation makes total sense for anyone seriously wanting to address the containment of a pandemic and saving lives.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  31. Gabe Goldman

    Good luck getting most men even to admit that they are sick– let alone that they should stay home from work. Besides, every week we see stories of professional athletes that are "playing through their illness." I'm guessing that until this virus takes a nastier turn most people will consider it little more than a contagious "cold" and will not lose work and pay over it.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  32. Scott Hertzog

    I am an owner of a small seasonal business that would be affected by this law if it were enacted. Something like this would be devastating to my company in this already slow economy. In my company, the cost would be over $20,000 if my employees all took advantage of this. Who is going to pay that? The government or me? I think we know the answer, and if I (my business) has to pay for it, then who do you think will really be paying for it? My customers. You will. Consumers will. In order to pay for that and remain profitable, I need to charge nearly twice that amount – or $40,000 of price increases that my customers will have to pay... this is a BIG deal and a BAD idea – price increases like that could make a business unable to be competitive, and soon enough, out of business.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  33. Ruthee Goldkorn

    Wow! I guess he overhead a conversation I started the other day.
    I said this exact thing!

    There must be a mechanism for employers to respond to a bonafide epidemic/pandemic of the sort H1N1 by making sure there is no economic down side to the company and the employees to participate in a program to limit the spread of the disease.

    This will not only keep their own absenteeism down but it keeps the flu from being spread by their employees outside the workplace. The dominoe effect is the reason the flu in any form is an epidemic.

    In particular the hospitality industry needs to recognize their responsibilities here. If I stayed in a hotel or was seved food by an employee who has the flu or H1N1, I will contract it and get very, very., very ill continuing the dominoe effect.

    If the business community will not recognize their responsibilities here, then I fully support Congress making it their responsibility. Someoner has to protect the interests of employees, their families and the general population–if it is not my boss, it may as well be Congress!!

    November 5, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  34. Deidre F

    Business Greed...Business Greed...Business Greed!!!
    The mantra de jour to gather strength behind a constant effort to squeeze more and more money out of small business owners. But, of course, there's NO regard as to these companies profitability, or their size, or strength in these precarious times to withstand yet another hit from their OWN government that seems bend on destroying them.
    If I have to pay my employees sick time off, I will have to close, period, and you can happily add 5 more people to the extended unemployment benefit rolls.
    We are ruled by idiots that have never run a business in their life. I should just give up... and get a job in government.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  35. Susan

    Government should not be making more mandates! Small businesses cannot afford this and the government sure can't (although no one would blink an eye if they said they could!)
    Perhaps a better idea would be to suggest that businesses who do not offer paid sick days could guarantee that employees who do contract the H1N1 virus and must stay home would not be pink-slipped b/c of their illness, when under a doctor's care.
    Perhaps if the vaccines were distributed by private companies as in the past, instead of by government , they would be distributed in a more timely fashion!

    November 5, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  36. Brian ~indepinion

    Good Morning Heidi,
    I really wish an issue like this would be handled by the business owners instead of the government, but I do understand the reasoning that is has landed on a legislators desk.

    There have been way too many times in my life where a co-worker has come into the office spewing germs all over the place. Why? Well, I've seen cases where management punishes an employee for taking sick time. I've also seen cases where management makes an employee feel guilty for calling in sick and/or there is no sick time left on the books and the employee cannot afford to take the time off.

    On the flip side, an employer has to worry about an employee abusing this added benefit, like they might do with other benefits. That being said, I don't really care to see another government burden placed on business owners (especially, small businesses). It is hard enough for them to survive. In my indepinion, this is not something the government should legislate, but the effort to control the spread of this influenza is needed. At this point, I'm torn on this issue because there are valid arguments and concerns on both sides.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  37. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    This is something that an employer should have the common since to do without any body having to tell them to do so but theres so many uncute bosses out there playing Scrooge some one has to speak out.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  38. joanne stratton

    NO! NO! NO! There are many reasons that a person must miss work. H1N1, for many is a mild condition. Employers must not be responsible for what is individual responsibility. The health system should not be overloaded with testing to support the employees claims or non claims. This is a very bad idea. People have to care for themselves as far as staying healthy and dealing with illness.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  39. Karl

    If the government does not mandate employers to grant their emloyees emergency sick leave, just like family leave, overtime pay, minimum wage, most employers will not comply unless it's the law. In Florida, a company does not have to offer vacation to its employees because there is no law that requires them to do so.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  40. Daniel Green

    We as worker need sick pay. but companies don't like being told how to run their business by the government. But how long does it take for some one to get better if its a emergency? I know of two co-workers where I work that have been out for 2 weeks and are still not back. We need more to survive in the world of HIGH PRICES.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  41. Mike Ski

    Has anyone in congress had to make payroll?

    November 5, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  42. Bob Lorgeree

    From an employers prospective, this could be financially devastating if it passed. On the assumption that it will apply to companies with 15 or more employees, and up to 5 days off and the average workers rate around $15.00 per hour that is a extra cost of $9600.00 PLUS matching taxes W/C etc. MANY if not most small businesses can't afford that. $10,000.00 plus could equate to the years profits.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  43. anoelle

    It's sad that we've gotten to this point–that employers like Walmart would be so greedy that they would stick to their Dickensian sick leave policies even in the midst of this swine flu crisis. And I can't believe some commenters are actually defending these companies! I don't know about you, but I someone checking out my family's groceries who has H1N1. And workers, especially those at risk like pregnant women, people with underlying health conditions like asthma, etc., shouldn't have to exert themselves working when they should be getting well, just so their boss can squeeze a few more hours out of them. It's pretty sad what our society will accept nowadays. I'm glad Congress is taking a stand.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  44. Jane in Keller, TX

    YES!! So many children here are getting sick and spreading the flu in school because their parents cannot afford to take time off to stay at home with them per CDC guidelines. All employees regardless of full or part time who don't already have paid sick days available should be given the right to stay home and recover or to take care of a sick child with the flu. However, I don't think businesses should foot the bill 100% when it's the CDC that issues the guidelines for how long you should be isolated. This is an epidemic and financial help or tax breaks should be given to companies to pay the employees. Unfortunately, some employers are already playing Grinch before the upcoming holidays and firing people for being responsible and taking care of their kids!

    November 5, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  45. Jay

    ENOUGH! I'm so sick and tired of hearing about this stuff. How about giving other news stories equal coverage?

    November 5, 2009 at 10:28 am |

    As posed, I am in favor of Congressman Miller's bill. I certainly don't want a sick person serving me. The key point,as I see it, is that the employer doen't have to pay the sick leave IF the employer doen't send the employee home or direct them to stay home. What responsible employer wants sick people on his premises?

    November 5, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  47. Will

    I'd like to think that employers put the health and well being of their employees, not to mention the health and well being of their clients or customers, as a priority. But many, like Walmart, don't give sick days and people have to choose between getting their hours so they can get paid, skipping a shift for which they could get fired, or risk spreading a pandemic. Many are going to choose to go to work sick if they feel they have to.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  48. Esther M

    What kind of employer does NOT offer sick leave? How cheap and shallow is that? This is a leftover legacy from the Bush administration of not caring about the "little people".

    November 5, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  49. John - Ft Lauderdale

    At the rate congress moves the H1N1 will be gone. Better congress spends its time getting health care taken care of.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  50. Alan Ralsky

    What an idiotic idea! I already have trouble with co-workers missing work because of fake FMLA or STD (Short Term Disability) claims. your request for a vacation day turned down? No problem, just use intermittent FMLA for your "migraines" and enjoy your day!

    November 5, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  51. Tom

    Its a good idea in theory but heres the problem. If company doesn't like you taking sick leave this bill will do no good. Michigan as many states are no fault when it comes to an employer firing an employee. So you take sick leave and then an employer (2 wks later) fires you with no reason for it. You know why but cant prove it.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  52. DIANE

    I feel they should not be paid for sick leave if they dont already have it as part of the benifits package. If the time off becomes longer than a few days then disability should kick in to help out. Documentation must be presented as well before pay outs are made.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  53. Adam

    This is another example of reactionary legislation by a micromanaging government. What a terrible idea.

    November 5, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  54. Abby

    A congressional bill guaranteeing those with H1N1 job security while they recover is absolutely necessary! In TX, an 'at will' state, the protection was needed two months ago, as many employers only care that their workforce is present, and could care less if they are healthy or (in H1N1's case) possibly infecting the entire office. Specifically, I have heard a manager telling a model employee, via speakerphone, that their job is more important than their health, and that they needed to find a way to get there, while touting a 103+ fever and expelling liquids from every oraface possible. If this management technique is employed country wide, the workforce will dwindle massively as H1N1 spreads; to keep contagion down, let your employees recover and keep their jobs!

    November 5, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  55. Arine Ward

    America, America, America, You have lost your way! Ole Glory is a diminishing symbol. 1st. if your sick, you should stay home. 2nd. If the business hasn't planned for this before hand, this is called (Proper Business Management Forecasting) Seen the unforeseen before it happens. 3. Americans are spoiled and selfish sniveling brats! But I'm sure its President Obama that is responsible for this he will get the blame, cause spineless Americans can't do anything more than blame him one always wonders why for the sake of hearing it I will let it be! Wonder how North Korea handles situations like this?

    November 5, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  56. Jim Severin

    No, not a good idea. Everyone now will call in to to get the days off. Then when they really get the bug, they will have to again take more time off. Why don't we just pay them, and tell them to take every day off....

    November 5, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  57. Ram

    Bill has to be very detailed to avoid any deception from employee. Not that everyone would do that but why give a chance.

    November 5, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  58. Lena Pyle

    Sick bill leave – rediculous! In order to know positively if you have H1N1 virus, and not some of the MANY POSSIBLE other flu like virus', one must pay about $200 for a lab test. Get informed Congressman, or do you expect the taxpayers to foot the bill for every person who thinks they have H1N1?.

    November 5, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  59. Stella

    This is something that is in the best interest of society. If people are sick with H1N1, sure they may have a mild case themselves, but if they work with the general public they may be able to pass it on to people that are in a high risk group.

    Also, I don't think offering paid leave and protection from termination to sick people can be considered an "entitlement." I suppose we can look at 8 hour work days, breaks, overtime pay as entitlements too? Maternity leave? Sick pay should be essential.

    Personally, I wouldn't want to live in a country where such things are considered luxuries for only those that can afford to have them.

    November 5, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  60. unionmaidn

    Paid sick days fill a basic need that all human beings have: to get healthy and stay healthy. This temporary, emergency legislation is a great first step toward guaranteeing paid sick days for all Americans.

    But it does not go far enough. Employees should have the right to determine when they need to stay home from work. A real guarantee is needed for everyone who has to go to a job every day: paid sick days for themselves; paid sick days for caregiving for a sick family member; and a guarantee that they will not be fired for using sick time.

    This is a great first step. Let's enact it.

    November 5, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  61. Dan

    I would like to comment on Esther's comment above.
    Why is everything blamed on Bush? Just because Democrats (not just politicians) expect the government to GIVE ME, GIVE ME, GIVE ME, that is why our country is broke.
    I have worked for everything I have. Nothing given to me.

    November 5, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  62. Cary Ganz

    My wife just took my son to the pediatrician. He's been sick since Sunday and she wanted him evaluated and then asked for him to be tested for H1N1. Money was not an object. We were told that this was not possible. We were further told that this was due to the fact that the only testing facilities were managed by the federal government and that they were not accepting any tests unless the child was hospitalized.

    I don't know about you but, I as a health care professional, find this disgusting. Since when does our country limit health testing. Is that not a right rather than a restriction?

    Not being a conspiracy type, it does seem odd that there is a limited amount of vaccine and also a restriction on testing at the same time. Could it be that if there were more positive findings for H1N1 than currently reported that the outrage for the poorly handled vaccine production would be even greater and the powers that be want to make sure this doesn't happen.

    As a father, I find this to be reprehensible and thought someone should find out more.


    November 5, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  63. John Kawakami

    As a consumer, I support paid sick leave, even for part time workers. This law puts the ball in the proprietor's hands – they decide who goes home. I'd rather that 5 sick days be part of everyone's compensation package if they work more than 20 hours a week.

    As a consumer, I don't want a sick person handling my food, or suffering pain needlessly. I am willing to pay the 1%-2% increase in prices that this law should cause (due to retail and warehouse workers finally attaining paid sick days).

    November 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  64. Bob Stratton

    Forcing employers to pay sick leave for H1N1is worse than a terrible idea!!!! Every one of us has had to take a sick day once in a while. That's life!!! It Happens!!!!
    The idea that a specific cause (H1N1) should force paid leave would be impossible to monitor and enforce fairly.
    Miller is acting like a classic socialist. Who does he think is really going to pay for such a move.
    He is a congressman that should be tossed after such an idiotic move.

    November 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  65. Barry Docherty

    "We the people."

    That is what we have to consider. We have a bunch of politicians living the high life whilst "We the People" suffer the consequences of their indiscretions toward "We the People"

    Come on, every politician says they will fight for this and fight for that but all they fight for is their own personal livelihood and their own family's welfare. No politician cares about "We the People"

    And all you folks at CNN what do you care about the poor and the unemployed... how about you create jobs. This country is full of "dare I say" crap! There is no "We the People" anymore. It is lost in history and the ideology has been stolen by greed and selfishness.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  66. Barry Docherty

    I have only been at my present job for 3 months and my sick days were limited. I do not like having to take a sick day, but I am sick, I do not want to transmit my cold/flu. I feel guilty taking time off, but there is no hero in toughing it out at work infecting others.

    As far as I am concerned, I do not have a problem with unpaid time off once all sick leave has been used up. It is bad enough that companies have to pay for time off for sick time. Worse if the government forces them to pay more than they have to. "We the People" have to bite the bullet here and just rough it out. I see no benefit in forcing companies to pay more than they have to. All it will do is force them to slim down their workforce, and then that workforce will have to work more hours for same pay.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  67. shirley

    we the average worker need more support on our side ..we are the backbone of america..i have a friend at work that was forced to come back after 3 days..she was still very ill but afraid for her job and then was treated poorly by mangement..made to feel like she could not even get sick because it would hurt their profit..enough is enough

    November 6, 2009 at 2:51 am |
  68. Nick Scott

    Perhaps if this bill passes, Heidi will take advantage of it and take some time off while she's sick. Nothing quite as inconsiderate as showing up for work while you're sick...

    November 6, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  69. David

    It's the caring and compassionate thing to do, but with the ongoing need for unemployment benefits and the extension for receiving those benefits that just passed through congress, and the hard time some businesses are having with income stream, credit flow, and profit, this could be a pile on on some businesses who are already cash strapped. Also, if the H1N1 vaccine becomes widely available and in plentiful supply, that should be enough to keep the highly communicable H1N1 virus from spreading throughout the workforce.

    Should be. But it's true that having available sick days is a flexible way to encourage people who get sick to take time off yet assuring their income. From the public health pt of vw, this gets down on a case by case basis to help people when they need it. Sick days, personal days, vacation days, are good idea and people tend to stick with companies who offer or provide them as a benefit to employees.
    As things stand with two flus on going, it does make sense to look ahead and consider how the country will be impacted.

    I hope though that employers and coworkers will be understanding too and keep abreast of how H1N1 is spreading or coming into their area and assume that someone's missing work is due to having caught the flu esp during a pandemic. I guess it would be kind of rude to assume otherwise.

    That's my view Heidi, I do need to learn more about what different states require. I wish there was a link to a post or article here.

    November 7, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  70. In Need But Not Helped

    I do think workers should be paid if they are sent home or directed to stay home with a contagious illness.

    However, the bill should consider employees whose employer does provide at least 5 days of sick time, but said employee has not earned the sick time yet. I am in this category. Eventually, I will have earned enough sick time to cover an illness such as H1N1 flu. But currently, I would not have enough time to cover an illness. I cannot afford to take unpaid time (I can barely pay the bills as it is), so I would have to force myself to come to work ill and risk infecting the entire office. If they sent me home or told me to stay home, they should have to pay me. End of story.

    November 9, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  71. And WHY does my emplyer foot the bill for this?

    Why is it my employers' problem if I spend every penny I get each week and don't save a rainy day/emergency fund? I should be able to take a week off unpaid if I am sick and not worry about missing my mortgage payment or being able to buy food. If I cannot I have been living above my means! Americans think we have the right to SPEND SPEND SPEND every penny, and then whine if something happens and we need the savings that we didn't bother to save! For some that will mean the economy car instead of the luxury, and for MANY it means a smaller house and extreme frugality in order to get the emergency fund established, and remain filled. You should not be FIRED if you can produce a doctor's note. But why should you be paid for work you DIDN'T do? Your employer already had to call someone else in to cover that shift you called out of, so has already paid for it! The govt wants them to pay for the same shift TWICE??

    November 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  72. Lisa Mankins

    I know the bill is for employers with 15 or more employees. I do not have that many only 3 part time employees and I owning a small bed and breakfast am having a hard time right now giving them hours. I cannot afford disability insurance for myself and my husband and I owning both our own business pay over $600.00 a month for our daughter and ours health ins.with blue shield. We have a $5,000.00 deductible. If they make this a bill I do believe that the employee must be tested for the virus or otherwise too many employers will be taken advantage. I am hoping my business survives the next six months and I can keep making the mortgage payments and keep the employees I have

    November 10, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  73. David

    The idea is that the public health concern is sufficient to require employers provide sick days. Using a sick day usually requires some sort of note from a physician.

    November 11, 2009 at 12:04 pm |