Way way back on April 28th of this year, I wrote a simple post entitled "Paid Sick Leave Bill Moves Forward; Will Swine Flu Be Tipping Point"?
Back then, the Connecticut General Assembly was debating a Paid Sick Leave bill and one of the groups supporting the measure used the swine flu (H1N1) outbreak as a reason why the measure should pass. Ultimately it did not, but I discussed why using that particular illness as a reason for a paid sick leave bill would be a bad idea. (And, it should be noted, I pointed out that there were a number of good arguments why it should be passed; H1N1, however, wasn’t one of them.)
Flash forward now over six months later and now some members of Congress are again raising the swine flu as the basis for a measure for paid sick leave.
Rep. George Miller, Chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor and others introduced emergency temporary legislation yesterday that would guarantee five paid sick days to any employee sent home or directed to stay home by an employer because of a contagious illness. (H/T Workplace Prof Blog)
The bill is still a few weeks away from a hearing and consideration but expect to hear more about this in the upcoming weeks. Again, there are pros and cons to a paid sick leave bill, but for the same reasons I’ve outlined before, using the H1N! flu as a reason for the measure now shouldn’t be one of them. What about all the people who have suffered for years with just a seasonal flu, for example.
Of course, when the CDC is putting out public service announcements that encourage employees to stay home if they are sick, a measure like this is not unexpected.