A new worrying report states that sickness does not stop workers in the food industry from showing up at their jobs, where they might further spread their illnesses.
- The survey questions 1,200 food workers
- 51% of them reported often reporting to work sick, while managers believed only 18% of them did
- 45% cannot afford losing money for staying home, while 46% do not want to burden their colleagues by missing a shift
- It has been suggested that workers in the food industry get paid sick leaves in order to alleviate the problem
It’s not in the slightest a comforting though. A recent poll conducted by the Center for Research and Public Policy (CRPP), has inquired a number of 1,200 food workers about their frequency and reasons behind showing up sick at work. It’s one of the most dangerous manners that could potentially lead to unfortunate outbreaks.
It commonly passes beneath the knowledge of consumers. However, it appears that 51% of food industry workers either “always” or “frequently” report to work even if they’re sick. This is in spite of the facts that previous studies have shown that a good number of foodborne viruses are spread from food workers to consumers.
It should also be noted that restaurant managers believed that only 18% of their workers show up sick.
The disease can transmit to both the customers and fellow colleagues with ease. Most of them were also aware that their illness could be spread to others. Only one third believed themselves to be non-contagious.
And this is available for all types of outlets, ranging from fancy restaurants to the classic burger joint at the corner of the street.
However, while most might turn their pointed fingers at the workers themselves, co-director of Food Chain Workers Alliance, Jose Oliva, has underlined that it’s not necessarily their fault. In fact, the reality of the situation is stemmed in the unfortunate fact that they don’t often receive paid sick days. If they don’t show up for work, they don’t get paid, and it’s as simple as that.
A study in 2012 found that 79% of food workers do not have paid sick leave, and that resulted in 45% of them claiming that they cannot afford to lose one day of payment. According to a former employee for the Olive Garden Restaurants, “it’s very expensive to skip work”. This eventually and inevitably led most to taking a chance.
While perhaps it’s not such a severe problem for some diseases, it becomes a grave issue when food workers report for their jobs with conditions such as hepatitis A, salmonella, and norovirus. They’re easily infectious through touched food.
However, 46% of the participants in the survey also claimed that they do not skip work for the purpose of not burdening their colleagues. This sense of camaraderie, however, may lead to additional infections, and outbreaks.
The solution seems possible in providing workers in the food industry with paid sick leaves that could discourage them from showing up and affecting the health of their customers. Prices in restaurants might go up, but at least the population might see an improvement on doctor’s bills.
Image source: wfyi.org