Via the always interesting blog Controversies in Hospital Infection Prevention, Dr. Eli Perencevich writes: A Living Wage and Paid Sick Leave are Infection Control Issues. Excerpt:
We've written often about presenteeism, workers staying on the job while they are sick, and have mentioned paid sick leave as a mechanism for keeping sick healthcare workers at home. A few years ago, New York City mandated a minimum of 5 days paid sick leave for all companies with over 20 workers, yet few other cities or states have similar regulations.
While most presenteeism discussions focus on workers in specific workplaces, little attention has been paid to home healthcare providers. These individuals face significant time and financial pressures to work while sick, as evidenced by a recent Guardian article examining issues facing working mothers in Denver.
In the first of an election year series of discussion groups, The Guardian asked five working mothers, including three home healthcare workers, about the many barriers they face caring and providing for their families. Several quotes from the article are particularly relevant to discussions of presenteeism and infection prevention:
"As the women discussed, they’re paid less than male colleagues, they often struggle to find reliable childcare, they lack medical leave and they rarely even get paid time off"
"I mean, I cannot miss a day of work, because I have to pay rent."
"they [home healthcare companies] don’t give you benefits, they don’t give gas [money], they don’t pay for my mileage, and you take care of all these sick people in their homes. And then when you get home with this low paycheck, again, you’re struggling. The money’s not enough for us to take care of our family. No vacation, no sick pay, no benefits."