Sick leave for flu should be made ‘paid’ sick leave
It is the flu season and many parts of the world, including India, are reporting flu cases, both as an outbreak or an epidemic.
The flu virus is highly contagious and one infected person spreads the flu virus to around four more people.
A person with flu is most contagious one day before the onset of symptoms and 5-7 days after becoming sick. After exposure to the virus, symptoms appear within 1 to 4 days.
The flu virus spreads mainly via airborne droplets made when a person with flu sneezes, coughs or even talks. People with flu can spread it to others at a distance of up to 6 feet. Transmission is further facilitated in closed and crowded areas, especially when more number of people share the space and are in close proximity such as schools, offices or healthcare establishments. In such situations, the virus spreads easily and the attack rates are high. The virus can also be spread by touching a surface or object that has been contaminated with the flu virus. Hand washing is also very important in preventing spread of flu.
Flu is a preventable disease. Observing appropriate precautions can prevent spread of the virus to others at home, school, work place, or in a public place. Avoiding exposure to the virus is the basic premise of flu prevention. Staying at home when sick with flu will ideally reduce the spread of virus to others. But, this is not always possible, especially for the working people.
Many employees report to work as they may not have paid sick leave. So, they are hesitant to take time off from work even when sick with the flu. The result is that they expose their colleagues to the virus, who will also in turn become infected and report to work sick.
Hence, sick leave for flu should be made ‘paid sick leave’. People who can work from home on computers should be allowed to do so for the duration of their illness. Schools should give attendance to students for their sick days.