Family Values @ Work

Katie Couric’s Notebook: Sick Waiters

November 5, 2010

Picture this: You’ve just ordered dinner at your favorite Italian restaurant, but as your waiter approaches, you notice he has a red nose and a crumpled tissue in his hand.

Then he sneezes all over your fettuccine.

Nearly two-thirds of restaurant employees have cooked or served food while ill, according to a recent survey by the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, a workers group. That’s probably because 90 percent of them don’t get paid sick days, explains the study… and with a median wage under nine dollars per hour, many can’t afford to skip work.

The group is pushing for federal legislation that would mandate any business with 15 or more employees to let workers earn at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. That sounds fair… and long overdue.

Sick workers should stay home — for our sake as much as theirs. Fettuccine tastes a whole lot better without an extra sprinkling of germs.

That’s a page from my notebook.

I’m Katie Couric, CBS News.