Monday, Oct 24, 2016
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Sick days may not be enough in pandemic

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Consider these scenarios as the nation enters the second wave of the swine flu season this fall:

You feel feverish and start sneezing, but you're afraid of losing your job so you stay at work.

Your child has the swine flu and will be out of school for at least a week — more if there are complications. You have only three vacation days left for the year.

Your child's healthy, but his school shuts down after swine flu cases are cited. You need to be at work.

The federal government is urging employers to allow ill workers to stay home without fear of losing their jobs and to be flexible when workers' children are affected because of the flu or school being closed.

The government is urging employers not to require documentation from a doctor on H1N1, a standard requirement for disability or leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Some companies such as insurance data firm NCCI have tweaked their crisis plans for swine flu.

Its employees have a bank of at least 20 sick, vacation, or personal days. For longer illness, short-term disability offers up to 70 percent of pay.

The company already lets some employees work from home and, in preparation for the swine flu, is asking managers to be more flexible with work arrangements. It also is working with the YMCA to offer child care when schools are closed.

“We provide the tools and resources so they can stay home and cover those days so they don't lose pay,” said Bradley Kitchens, director of human resources.

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