restaurantSo I guess you heard? The flu is going around. It's waiting to find you behind every corner, with every little microscopic drop from every little sneeze and cough. And it may even be heading your way on a tray from your waiter.

Think about it: Most restaurant workers do not get paid sick leave. Any day they're home sick, they're missing out on a paycheck. So ... what are you supposed to do?!? Take some medicine and show up for work, that's what.

Suddenly that Cobb salad is looking awfully sinister.

A few cities around the country are considering restaurant paid sick leave laws that would require restaurants to give their workers a few paid sick days. That way, a waitress doesn't feel obligated to drag her phlegmy, fevered self into work and spend the day touching your plates and glasses and sneezing into the kitchen.

It sounds like a nice thing to do for the workers. But it's also a smart public health move. I mean, sure, an employer can tell you to stay home if you're sick. But can anyone really afford to do that and still make the rent?

I know a lot of restaurant owners hate the idea of paid sick leave because, dayum, profit margins are already so slim! But cities with paid sick leave laws usually limit the days to five a year (so you can't just call in sick all the time), and THEN workers end up using only a couple of those days anyway. So it doesn't sound like it's going to ruin anyone's business.

The alternatives are 1) we keep passing around germs, whee! 2) we stop eating out during flu season, boo! Neither alternative sounds like much fun to me, actually. But what the hell, it's too cold to go out to eat right now anyway.

Do you ever worry about cooks and waiters working sick?

 

Image via goodiesfirst/Flickr