NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the flu epidemic pounds the Tri-State Area, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is calling for the immediate passage of paid sick leave legislation that is now stalled in the City Council.

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.

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“I’ve had to make that hard decision of what am I going to do?” said Annette Scott.


As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, Scott said unfortunately, she has to go to work to avoid losing money. De Blasio said 1 million New Yorkers do not have even a single paid sick day in one of the worst flu seasons.

“We are not taking all the actions we could to help New Yorkers who work to deal with the results of this epidemic,” he said.

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De Blasio said the city tells people to stay home if they are sick to prevent spreading the flu – an option he says many simply cannot afford.

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

Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a public health emergency for New York State because of the flu epidemic.

The declaration allows pharmacists to administer flu shots to anyone between the ages of 6 months and 18 years.

As of Saturday, a total of 19,128 cases of influenza had been reported in New York state for the season, compared with 4,404 for all last season, according to Cuomo’s office. As of last week, the state Department of Health had received reports of 2,884 patients hospitalized with the flu, compared with 1,169 last year.

To date, two children in New York state and 18 nationwide have died from the flu.

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