Flu epidemic brings sick time debate back to the forefront

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In some places the level of flu activity continues to increase, but in others, it is decreasing.  It is bringing back a decades old debate, should employees get paid sick time?  Health officials said there are signs the flu epidemic is easing and may have even peaked, but doctors said they are still seeing patients and do not expect the flu to go away any time soon.

It is that time of year again- colds, the flu, sickness in the workplace.  Thousands of Hoosiers are in a tough spot when they are sick, stay home and do not get paid, or go to work and potentially get others ill.

“Is it really in an employer’s best interest to pay an employee to stay at home for one or two days, so that when they are back at work they are 100 percent?  I would suggest that it is,” said attorney Stephanie Jane Hahn.

In New York, workers are protesting to try and get their sick days paid.  Labor Attorney Stephanie Jane Hahn said it is a fight employees will not win in Indiana.

“We are not in an environment that is legislative friendly to workers getting more rights than they have had, as a matter of fact, they have taken rights away that workers had come to rely on,” said Hahn.

The closest our state got was back in 2009, a House bill calling for “paid breaks and sick leave.”  It did not happen.
Hahn said some employees will “tough it out” and come to work under the weather, others will take another form of action.

“You are going to see more and more folks pursue other courses of action in civil court, where it will be a matter of public record, there will be lots of lawyers, lots of attorney’s fees and it will take a really long time,” said Hahn.

14 comments

  • Rick

    Sick days are a perk and shouldn't be legislated. If people take better care of themselves. They wouldn't need to miss work. Stop insisting on antibiotics for everything and man up. Our ancestors didn't have sick days.

    • Mary Goss

      I agree with Rick and have worked several places where a number of sick days were allowed each year, main reason for cutting these out of benefit packages is because employees take advantage of them and call in sick when they actually are not. Give them 5 sick days and trust me 90% of your employees will be off 5 days not because of sickness, just because they can (and will) . YOU CANNOT FIX STUPID

  • Jenn

    no our ancestors didn't have sick days, but they could miss work for being sick and not have to worry about losing there job over a stupid point system. Where I work you can only miss 4 days and the 5th one your fired and this for how ever long you work there when you get a point it don't fall off until a year from the day you get it. If not paid sick days I think they should all have to get rid of the point system. I know of one woman who was a single mom that was sick and the roads where bad, but she couldn't miss another day or she would be fired so she went to work and now her children are without a MOM because of a stupid point system. We live in Indiana and people are going to get sick get rid of the pressure of the point system at least.

  • Kellie

    i work at a place that you accrue 4 hours sick time every 2 weeks that you don't miss any days, so that way when you're sick, you will be paid for it. However, when you call in sick…it counts against you and you can be FIRED! So my question is,,,,why give them to you, if you can't use them when needed!!!??? Doesn't make sense..so we all go to work sick, and the sick hours keep accuring…people have over 300 hrs sick time…and cannot use them!

  • RedStateVet

    One thing I do not want is the legislature ramming a "break & sick" law down our throats. This is what they did in California, which is one of the most hostile business climates in the country.

    If the company you work for does not offer any sort of Sick/Personal/PTO/Vacation time you can use when you are sick, then you work for the wrong company. Hiring & training new employees is a significant business cost, and any company that does not adapt will not survive.

      • PB and Jay

        Yes I have…and it sucks.
        So you deal with it for now and hope that it comes back. You might also want to make sure your choices in politicians and laws don't make it MORE difficult for jobs to be created.
        For example, cramming sick leave down the throats of businesses that are trying to survive.

        Or…we can become Greece.

    • ClanSmokeJaguar

      >then you work for the wrong company

      Exactly bro! If you don't like what's offered, shove off in search of a new and better job.

      >Hiring & training new employees is a significant business cost,

      In many cases, no. When you're dealing with a no-skilled, semi-skilled force it's nothing to get rid of them and ship in another batch of fodder for the trenches.

      The company I work for is a mixture of keyboard fodder and professionals. Unfortunately a lot of the "perks" and bennies reflect that fact but when I signed on I made sure to get my 3 weeks of vacation and knew the sick time protocols.

  • Ralf

    Easy, When you are sick, have as many Meetings with your Boss as possible. Shake his Hand, Touch his doorknob, etc. Until he pays you to stay away from him and the customers.

  • Ralf

    Germans work 38 hours per week, have 30 working days paid vacation each year, and paid sick leave, and Germany exports more than America.

  • Candice

    I don't believe we need to legislate paid sick time. I do however think that while under a doctor's care people should be able to take unpaid leave for up to 5 working days (10 if hospitalized) without the threat of termination of their jobs. If you are sick they should allow you to stay at home until you are well enough (according to a doctor) to return to work. It is better for the other workers that way.

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