Friday, August 7, 2009

H1N1 Continues, but Where are the Sick Days?

It’s not in the news as much these days, but as WHYY points out, H1N1 is still active here in Pennsylvania. 70 percent of cases involve people age 5 to 24 – which means a large number of those affected may be young enough to need a parent to stay home with them. Plus, the CDC is expecting infection among school-age children to increase once school begins again next month.

The first line of defense for H1N1 is prevention through both vaccination (coming soon and hopefully affordably) and good hygiene. But government guidelines released today then ask any student or staff member with flu-like symptoms to stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever has abated.

Across the country, more than 94 million working people to not have paid sick days to take care of a child. For these families, staying home for at least 24 hours could mean losing the pay they need to keep food on the table, and it could mean losing their jobs.

The National Partnership for Women and Families has a series of fact sheets on earned sick time, including these Myths and Facts about the cost and need for earned time to care for one’s self and family. If you would like to support paid sick days, you can do the following:

  • Ask your legislators to cosponsor the Healthy Families Act! While some of Pennsylvania's legislators have cosponsored the bill already, the rest need to hear from you about why paid sick time is important to you and your family.
  • Join us on Facebook to support earned sick time in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia, or become part of our coalition of advocates and businesses working to ensure all Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to earn sick time.

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