My co-worker came into work a month ago with a nasty flu. When we asked her why she was there, she said she had burned through her vacation time over the holidays and couldn’t afford to take the time off.
We tried our best to defend ourselves from her coughing, sneezing, and wheezing through plenty of hand washing and Lysol spraying, but one by one, we watched as the entire department came down with the flu… followed by the surrounding two departments within two weeks.
Despite my best efforts to protect myself like Rene Russo in ‘Outbreak’, I was sidelined by the bug and lay on the couch for three days begging my husband to take me to the ER because death was imminent.
I can be a little dramatic when I’m sick.
One of my coworkers has a husband who is undergoing cancer treatment and his immune system is weak. When she ultimately came down with the virus, she had to wear a mask in her home, sleep in a separate bedroom, and use a different bathroom to protect her husband.
California is working to pass legislation forcing companies to give between 5 and 9 sick days a year to employees. Studies indicate that employees are unable to afford time off and come in to work, spreading the flu.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think my company is to blame for the fact that I’m laying on my couch praying I don’t get pneumonia…again, but I wonder if this law would make a difference.
Then again, I’m not a fan of government involvement in anything so I have mixed feelings.
What do you think? Should the states mandate sick time so folks like me stop getting sick from infectious co-workers?