Some eateries serving up the flu with lunch

Many restaurant workers fear they will be fired if they miss work.

How about that burger… with a side of snot?
 
A new study published today by the Community Service Society, an advocacy group that fights against economic disparity, reveals a startling statistic: More than half the people who prepare, handle or serve food in New York City do not have any paid sick leave.
 
Nancy Rankin, the head researcher of the study, warned that when restaurant workers are denied paid sick leave, they are forced to work with runny noses, nasty coughs and high fevers.
 
“They’re spreading germs to all the people eating in the restaurant,” said Rankin. “It’s hard to swallow.”
 
Rankin said many restaurant workers fear they will be fired if they miss a shift, so they work while they’re ill, or even contagious.
 
Barbara Sibley, who owns the East Village Mexican restaurant La Palapa, said she often has to turn away her employees who come in sick.

“We have to send them home. They need to take care of themselves,” she said.
 
Sibley, 49, is one of the few restaurant owners in the city who offers her 30 employees health care and paid sick leave.
 
“I just think it should be a right,” Sibley said. “People get sick and they should be able to get well.”
 
And it’s not just restaurant workers who are affected by the lack of paid sick leave. The survey estimated that nearly 1.6 million New Yorkers don’t have any paid sick days. Upper West Side Councilwoman Gale Brewer is pushing forward legislation that would require all New York City businesses to offer their employees paid sick time.

Convincing the City Council

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn shot down Councilwoman Gale Brewer’s paid sick time legislation when it was first proposed in 2010 because of the presumed burden it would place on small-business owners.

“In the economic environment we are in, small businesses are hanging on by a thread,” said Quinn. “Although this goal is laudable, it’s not one I can support because (it will) … cost us small businesses and their future in these tough economic times.”

But Brewer said she has revised the bill to be more small-business friendly, exempting businesses with fewer than five employees and adding a one-year grace period for new businesses.

“I understand her concerns, but I believe in this case, the issue of public health outweighs them,” said Brewer.

Waiting for health care

   
A career waitress who wished to remain anonymous told Metro she goes to the doctor so rarely, her appendix burst while she was serving customers.
    
“I try to go to doctors once a year, in Mexico, where I can afford it,” she said.
    
Her dentist, dermatologist and physician are all across the border in a town where she vacations annually.
    
“In the restaurant business, you just try not to get sick,” she said.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @emilyatmetro



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…