Got Swine Flu? Stay Home, Get Paid

Proposed law aims to squash nasty bugs

By Jessica Greene
|  Wednesday, Nov 4, 2009  |  Updated 2:31 PM PDT
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Photos: Swine Flu Outbreak Worldwide

Stay home if you're sick!

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Just about anyone who works outside the home is familiar with the scene: a co-worker coughing, sneezing and blowing their nose as they pass by your desk.

Now two Northern California lawmakers want to make sure people who are sick don't take the swine flu or other highly-contagious illnesses with them to work, potentially infecting others at the office.

U.S. Representatives George Miller and Lynn Woolsey, both Democrats, introduced a bill this week that would mandate five paid sick days for people who are sent home from work because of the H1N1 virus or others that could easily spread.

Miller says the bill would protect about 50 million workers who don't have paid sick leave, especially those working in low-wage and part-time jobs. Many of those people, Miller points out, are working in the food service or hospitality business and have frequent direct contact with many people.

The CDC estimates that a sick worker will infect 1 in 10 co-workers.

A hearing takes place later this month to decide on the matter.

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