Saturday, December 5, 2009

Working sick - attendance policies discriminate against those with imperfect health

Altanta Low Income Issues Examiner

Working sick - attendance policies discriminate against those with imperfect health
December 4, 10:12 PMAltanta Low Income Issues ExaminerDannis Cole
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According to a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine:
September 2005 - Volume 47 - Issue 9 - pp 958-966
, which involved 3136 people, "Fifty-three percent reported the presence of sickness (on more than one occasion during the preceding year). Having a health problem is a strong determinant of sickness presenteeism (odds ratio = 3.32)." This study was in Sweden, but this Examiner thinks in the US it might be the same. Except, if people came from a major employer of low-income people, the count might be higher.

OSHA is advising non-punitive attendance policies during the H1N1 Flu Pandemic. This Examiner hopes workplaces are following the guidance. Many schools and colleges in rural areas are not following the guidelines.

OSHA has a policy against certain workplaces providing leave without pay that is not Family Leave Act. An example of state employees' policies regarding leave is typical of policies that caused this Examiner to have to leave her last job. Personnel said OSHA was the source of these policies, which many non-government employers also use. If you look at this example, where would a sickly employee  fit in? Six months off would not help an employee struggling to make it in to work daily.

As in other cities, Atlanta employers might not be tolerant of frequent absences due to illness. This is an issue that our local government leaders should look into. Low income people often have more illness than the general population because they may lack health insurance, or lack of health may be the cause of them being low income.

Discriminatory Workplace Attendance Policies: Had trouble finding relevant links for this one, but personal experience and that of handicapped friends prompted me to write about it. See my other Posterous blog entries for more.

Posted via web from Dannis' Posterous From DanniStories

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