City employees can "borrow" future sick days - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/12/09

City employees can "borrow" future sick days

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By Tiffany Pelt - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - With case numbers rising, local resources to combat the flu are limited. The Lubbock Health Department says the first batch of H1N1 vaccines they receive will go to the local school districts, but what are local businesses doing to help prevent the spread of the flu?

The City of Lubbock has created a plan for sick city employees who are running out of sick days to help prevent the spreading of the flu in the workplace. "We wanted to come up with something that would help employees and still be fair to the organization," said Director of Human Resources Vickie Bennett.

The city employs around 1,900 people. Out of those close to 200 are almost out of vacation time and sick days. With the rise of flu cases in Lubbock, the city came up with a plan that allows people without sick days to "borrow" future sick days if they catch the flu. "That way people wouldn't be out the pay and feel like they had to come to work and infect everybody else," said Mayor Tom Martin.

Increases in school absences are also causing parents to have to stay home with their sick kids. The "borrowed" sick days also cover this. "Over something the employee has no control over, such as the flu, we wanted to send the message that we understand the situation you could be in and that we're here to partner with you," said Bennett.

This new plan is the first time the city has done something like this and they say it's their way of trying to prevent even more cases of the flu in the work place. "We don't want them to think they have to come to work, we rather they stay home, get over the flu so they don't pass it on to other employees," said Martin.

The past few weeks, the health department has reported 400 cases of flu-like symptoms with 23 of those confirmed swine flu. So as these flu cases continue to increase, more businesses may consider turning to sick day alternatives, like the city has, to help cut back on the number of employees spreading the flu.

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