Tag Archives: Serving While Sick

Contagion: Not Just a Movie

Contagion: Not Just a Movie tells the real story of how flu epidemics can spread. During the H1N1 outbreak, 7 million Americans caught the flu from their co-workers – in part because so many hard-working people without paid sick days were unable to stay home sick without being fired or losing a day’s wage.

Watch the real stories of five of the 44 million people who have been forced to go into work when they are sick because they couldn’t afford to or weren’t allowed to take time off.

We all have a stake in paid sick days.


*More than 44 million workers do not have paid sick days.
*Workers earning low-wages are the least likely to have paid sick days. Only 19 percent of low-wage workers have access to paid sick days.
*Many workers with a significant interaction with the public do not have paid sick days. *This includes three in four food service workers, three in five personal health care workers and three in four child care workers.
*1 in 6 workers have been fired or threatened with being fired for taking time off work to care for a personal or family illness.

Serving While Sick - High Risks & Low Benefits for the Nation's Restaurant Featured Image

Serving While Sick

In 2010 ROC United released Serving While Sick, a national study on health and safety conditions in the restaurant industry.  The report was based on 4,323 worker surveys on general working conditions, 240 employer interviews, 240 worker interviews, 500 worker surveys specifically on health insurance needs, and 20 employer interviews on health insurance needs.  The findings showed the effects of high risks of injury and illness and low access to benefits for America’s restaurant workforce.  They demonstrated the need for mandatory paid sick days laws to alleviate the burdens of restaurant workers and the risk of communicable diseases to the public, as well as the need for access to healthcare for restaurant workers.

Our Findings

  • 87.7% of restaurant workers surveyed reported not having paid sick days.
  • 63% of restaurant workers reported cooking and serving food while sick.
  •  Almost 90% of restaurant workers reported not having health insurance through their employer.  Those without insurance were three times as likely to visit the emergency room without being able to pay.
  • A majority of workers surveyed reported facing high rates of exposure to dangerous working conditions: 38.1% reported doing something while working to put their own safety at risk, 49.5% had been cut on the job, and 45.8% had been burned on the job.
  • Workers that faced employment law violations in the workplace were much more likely to work under conditions that have negative consumer impacts.

Download the Executive Summary here.

Download the full report here.