Spin Control

WEDNESDAY, MAY 13, 2009, 2:07 P.M.

Easy for them to say

When swine flu was all the rage last week, hardly an hour went by without some well-meaning organization sending "tips" to avoid the flu and how to handle it if you got it.

Most of them were pretty standard stuff your mom always told you, like wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Then there was the typical advice from the Human Resources Department: If you're feeling sick, stay home from work to avoid infecting co-workers.

Great advice, coming as it was from people who mostly get paid for a sick day or two if they have to stay home from work. But not everyone gets paid sick days, a group calling itself the Fairness Initiative on Low Wage Work notes.

And they're right. It was sort of like Vice President Joe Biden counseling people not to get on planes...he gets to go everywhere on Air Force One, so what does he care?

That could change under federal legislation that would require companies to offer employees up to seven days a year of pay if they have to stay home to recover from their own ills or to take care of a sick child. It's going to be trotted out at a Washington, D.C., press conference on Thursday.

But even the so-called Healthy Families Act isn't likely to cover everyone. Last year's bill, which failed to get a vote in either house of Congress, limited the rule to companies with 15 or more employees. Seems like the smaller companies would be the ones most likely to be unable to offer sick days.




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