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Severe Flu Season Costing Businesses

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) The nation is suffering through a severe flu season. Right now at least 674 Coloradoans have been hospitalized because of the flu. A total of 4 children have died in Colorado so far this season.

Even as more people get sick, they continue to go to work which leaves companies with a costly problem.

“I was sick for 3 weeks, I went to work every single day,” said one Colorado worker.

“Why? Why didn’t you take some time off?” asked CBS4’s Jodi Brooks.

“Because I don’t really make enough money,” the worker replied.

That’s the bottom line for many Colorado workers, they can’t afford to take sick days because they don’t get paid for them. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics estimates that 1 out of every 3 workers in the nation does not get paid sick days.

“We never really get a sick day,” said one worker in Denver.

“And do you go to work then when you don’t feel well?” Brooks asked.

“Yes, unless I’ve gone to work and been sent home,” she replied.

The Centers for Disease Control says up to 111 million work days are lost during an average flu season. That number could be even higher in a severe year like this one. The CDC also estimates that lost productivity costs businesses $ 7 billion a year.

Sick employees can spread illnesses to colleagues and customers so while providing sick days may seem expensive, withholding them is costly too.
RELATED: More Reports By 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks

- Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith

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