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This city just reached a major milestone to try to keep workplaces flu-free

paid sick days Pin It
Photo: Thinkstock/Bartek Szewcyk

Even if you feel like you’re coming down with something, a lot of people still feel pressured to come into the office—whether it’s self-induced or stemming from an uber competitive workplace culture. It’s as if perfect attendance makes you a better worker. (It totally doesn’t, by the way.) Sure, bosses say you should stay home when you’re feeling sick, but do they mean it? Lawmakers in Austin, TX, just made it abundantly clear that they, at least, do: According to the Austin American-Statesman, the city just made paid sick days mandatory.

(A number of other states offer varying levels of sick-day protections for certain workers in certain areas—but if you live in Arizona, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont, count yourself lucky because you have guaranteed sick leave pay, statewide. )

This is great news for Texas workers who are paid hourly, who literally can’t afford to miss work and who live in a state that’s traditionally been resistant to legislating business. Under Austin’s new law—the first of its kind in the state—businesses with 15 or fewer employees must pay workers 48 hours’ worth of pay, which comes out to six eight-hour work days. And businesses with more than 15 employees have to cover 64 hours worth of pay.

Considering how deadly the flu has become, it’s a law that will help keep everyone safer. Here’s hoping the healthy attitude Texas lawmakers have taken regarding sick days is, well, contagious.

Here are some flu-fighting products to keep at your desk, for those whose city isn’t as forward-thinking. Plus, why you might still get the flu even if you got the flu shot.