Because I am capable of discussing other topics

From the KJ:
Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell is behind a renewed push to require Maine businesses to provide paid sick time to employees, in part because of concerns over the spread of the H1N1 flu virus.

Mitchell, D-Vassalboro, is working with the Maine Women's Lobby, Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence and others to promote "An Act to Aid in the Prevention of the Spread of H1N1 Influenza by Ensuring the Provision of Earned Paid Sick Time."

During a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Mitchell said she considers H1N1 "a public-health emergency" that demands that workers stay home when they are sick. But it will be hard to stay home for the estimated 47 percent of full-time private sector workers in Maine who don't get paid sick time, she said.


Dr. Daniel Summers, a Winthrop [ed: ARGH! I told them to change this to "Augusta"] doctor who specializes in adolescent medicine and pediatrics, said patients recover faster if they stay home when sick.

"As a pediatrician, I see parents and children everyday who are ill and had to delay coming to see me because they can't get time off," he said.

They edited my quote a bit. I don't know if I can say that this is a daily phenomenon, but it is certainly quite frequent.

Obviously, H1N1 has given this issue greater urgency, but paid sick days are something worth fighting for in their own right. The bill would allow workers to earn 3 sick days a year if they are employed by a small business, and 6 if they work for a large employer. Financially vulnerable workers shouldn't have to choose between losing income they can't afford or coming to work sick.

Those of you who are curious to know what I sound like can listen to the NPR story here.

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