House Legislation Seeks 5 Days Of Sick Leave For Workers
The New York Times reports: "In an effort to rein in the spread of the H1N1 Flu, Representative George Miller, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced legislation on Tuesday that would guarantee five paid sick days for workers sent home by their employers with a contagious illness. Mr. Miller, Democrat of California, voiced concern that more than 40 million workers did not have paid sick days and that many workers coming into contact with public - like restaurant or school cafeteria employees - would go to work with H1N1 and spread the virus if they could not afford to stay home. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 39 percent of all private-sector workers do not receive paid sick days, while among the bottom 25 percent of wage earners, 63 percent do not."
Miller's bill would guarantee that employers with 15 or more employees provide sick pay if the employers sent a worker home "or advised them to stay home or go home. ... Business groups have opposed legislation requiring paid sick days, calling them expensive employer mandates for something workers and their bosses can usually work out. ... Under the proposed legislation, workers who follow their employer's direction to stay home because of contagious illness cannot be fired, disciplined or retaliated against for staying home." Workers who decide to stay home on their own because of sickness would not be guaranteed pay (Greenhouse, 11/3).
The Wall Street Journal reports: "Mr. Miller said his panel would hold a hearing on the legislation the week of Nov. 16. If the bill is successfully enacted by Congress, it would take effect 15 days after being signed into law, and expire in two years" (Boles, 11/3).