Your employee is sick. Your company doesn't provide paid sick leave. They can't afford to go without pay. So what is your employee going to do?
Accchhhoooo! Sniffle! Cough, cough...
Yes, that is your employee. in the office or at the restaurant making everyone else sick. They are there. They are working. But they are sick. And then more employees get sick, and customers get sick....and business slows down because sick workers just can't perform as well, and sick customers don't shop (unless your business is a pharmacy or medical office.)
With nearly 50% of the U.S. workforce lacking basic paid sick leave (that's about 59 MILLION workers!), presidential candidates and some members of Congress have talked about a national policy that will make paid sick days a part of federal labor laws. This would bring U.S. policy in line with that of other industrialized countries.
But in the meantime, lawmakers in 12 states and the District of Columbia are introducing legislation to make paid sick days a law in their state. Advocates of mandatory paid sick leave point out that it's not merely a labor issue...sick workers constitute a public health threat as well.
The epidemiological issue is made even more critical by the fact that the majority of employees who lack paid sick leave work in child care, food service and hotel industries -- all industries with high levels of contact with the public.
Employers looking at training issues connected with this problem may wish to supplement any changes in leave policy with educational programs on wellness, illness prevention, on-the-job-hygiene, and health care access.
A combination of effective training and paid sick leave options may be the best choice for reducing job site illness transmission, and improving employee wellness.