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City officials consider mandatory sick time

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

City Hall is starting to look at requiring some employers to provide sick days for workers.  Councilmember Michael LoCurto says many cities are now requiring some sick leave, mostly to keep sick people from showing up at work and infecting others.

The council member is asking for a working group to gather information about those cities which have gone into this and how it's worked out. He says the program might not cover a company with fewer than ten workers. LoCurto told yesterday's Council session sick food workers are a particular concern.
"We have people that make minimum wage who can't afford to take a day off from work and if they have a cold, if they have the flu and it means losing a day's pay to stay home in bed, they are going to go to work," LoCurto said. 

"And, so I think this is something cities around the country are addressing and I think we could do something there, too."

LoCurto says this isn't a response to the hepatitis A situation at an Elmwood Avenue pizzeria which led to around 1500 customers being vaccinated when a worker in a restaurant area was found to be infected with the disease and waiting on customers until a boss spotted how ill she was one day coming to work and sent her home.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.