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Many Employees Bringing Flu To Work [AUDIO]

Getting the flu is uncomfortable enough, but for many people taking the day to recuperate isn’t the option.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Whether it’s over fear of not getting their work done, losing pay, or even losing their job, many employees are still showing up to work even when advised not to.

The United States does not require employees receive paid sick days. According to the Bureau of Labor (BLS), paid sick leave was available to 61 percent of private industry workers and 89 percent of State and local government workers as of March 2009. Furthermore the BLS shows even though nearly 73% of employees with full time jobs get paid sick time, only 26% of part time workers do.

Companies Should Offer Telecommuting As Option for Sick Employees

Conversely the BLS shows 81% of employees earning wages in the highest 25 percent ($24.22 or more per hour) had access to paid sick leave, compared with only 33 percent for employees in the lowest 25 percent ($10.50 or less per hour).

Al Titone, New Jersey District Director for the Small Business Administration, says companies need to start considering telecommuting as a viable option for its employees.

“You set up a whole program that if people are really sick if they can call in and telecommute and usually there is a list of things that they would need to do.”

All too often Titone says people still come in because they don’t want to use up any days or fall behind on work, but notes showing up when sick isn’t productive.

“Very often people think they’re getting work done but they’re not getting work done. They may be getting something done but they’re talking they’re going back and forth to the bathroom depending how sick they are.”

Some Part Time, Hourly Workers Lose Pay When Staying Home Sick

He says the biggest problem is for part time and hourly workers, many of whom lose out on pay if they don’t come into work however many of those positions involve dealing with the public directly.

“If people are hourly and they don’t have the sick days they’re going to want to come in because they can ill afford to take the days off and in those cases you just have to make sure they’re keeping themselves clean, they’re washing their hands, and doing everything they can in keeping their workspace clean,” explains Titone.

He notes in situations where hourly employees don’t have paid sick leave, managers should try to have sick employees trade shifts if possible to avoid them into a position where they will be getting co-workers and customers sick.

CCN Money cites a study released by the Food Chain Workers Alliance which finds 79% of food system workers, don’t get paid sick leave. As such 53% of those surveyed admitted to working while sick.

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NEXT STORY: Where to Get a Flu Shot in NJ

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