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Push On To Require Sick Days In New York City Amid Flu Epidemic

City Hall in Lower Manhattan (file / credit: Evan Bindelglass / CBSNewYork)

City Hall in Lower Manhattan (file / credit: Evan Bindelglass / CBSNewYork)

CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A bill to require sick days for employees in New York City has been getting a new look after this winter’s flu outbreak.

As WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reported, supporters rallied in favor of the bill Friday at City Hall.

The bill to require many employers to provide paid sick leave has been around for years – it was first proposed back in 2010 – but Councilwoman Gail Brewer (D-6th) believes this year’s flu outbreak makes it much more important.

“We’re going to push and push and push to get this bill,” Brewer said.

Brewer said Connecticut as well as the cities of San Francisco and Washington D.C. are among places that already require paid sick days.

“Nobody wants to lose their job,” she said. “They want to be good workers in this economy, so people only use it when they are sick.”

Dr. Frank Proscia with the Doctors Council said people with the flu should be at home.

“We have the walking sick traveling our buses, our cabs, our trains, our planes spreading an epidemic throughout the nation,” he said.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has also advocated for the bill. He noted last weekend that many working parents have to choose whether to go to work or stay home and lose a day’s pay when a when a child gets sick.

“At minimum, you could lose a day’s pay,” he said. “At maximum, you could lose your job.”

The rally in favor of the bill came amid revelations that flu hospitalizations among the elderly rose sharply last week – prompting unusual steps by federal officials to make more flu medicines available and urge their use.

Do you think sick leave for employees should be mandated? Leave your comments below…