Contagion may be catching – but so are paid sick days

Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow star in the movie Contagion, which opened #1 this weekend, but did you catch your own (vicarious) appearance?

The first 10 minutes of the move is a montage showing how one person’s cough (Paltrow) spreads germs far and wide via door handles, faucets, and other surfaces. In other words, it’s an ad for staying home when you’re sick.

But for 44 million U.S. workers, that’s not a real option – because they don’t have paid sick days. Here are 5 of their stories:

Contagion is a movie, but epidemics are real, and many employers are using weak leave policies that leave their workers – and the public – unnecessarily exposed to disease and illness:

According to Gary Laugharn, principal at human resources consulting firm Hewitt Associates, about 20 percent of national retailers require employees to have been sick for up to a week before leave benefits kick in. He said many of the companies he works with have tried to combat the H1N1 virus by providing plenty of hand sanitizer in the stores and encouraging sick workers not to come in.

But for the roughly 50 million workers who do not receive sick time, the options are more stark: work or don’t get paid.

Fortunately, Seattle is poised to become the 3rd U.S. city with a paid sick days standard on the books – part of a growing trend in cities and states across the country.

Join us today to rally for paid sick days and watch the final Seattle City Council vote!

About seattlehealthyworkforce

The Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce is a diverse coalition of businesses, faith-based, labor, family, and community groups. We’re working to ensure everyone has paid sick days, so we can all have safer food, healthier families and more productive workplaces.
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