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
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…