Flu season fuels debate over paid sick time laws

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Chances are you or someone you know work for a company that doesn't pay for sick leave. That's 40 million American workers, many of whom are more likely to go to work with a contagious illness or send a sick child to school.

A debate we're watching in New York City is a mandatory paid sick proposal. Only three cities - San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C. - and one state - Connecticut - have it and Indiana isn't one of them.

Dozens of doctors, nurses, lawmakers and activists pointed to the flu outbreak as they rallied Friday on the City Hall steps for passage of the measure. It's awaited a City Council vote for nearly three years.

Supporters say such a requirement could contain viral outbreaks such as the flu, and they argue it's a workforce issue as well as a public health priority. But to some business owners, paid sick leave is an impractical and unfair burden for small operations.

Critics also say the timing is bad, given the shaky economy and the damage done to businesses by Superstorm Sandy.