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Event prompts sick day discussion

SPRINGFIELD Enjoy fun, family activities, music by Letitia and free food while learning how paid sick days can help keep our community safe and healthy. The family fun day will be taking place Aug. 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kenefick Park. With the outbreak of the H1N1 virus, the Center for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health advise that anyone with symptoms of swine flu stay home for seven days but without paid sick days, workers and their families risk losing income or worse, their jobs, if they stay home. Fact: 1.4 million workers in Massachusetts (over 40 percent of private sector workers) lack a single paid sick day. "If I stay home sick or stay with my sick child, I could get fired," said Terry B., a school bus driver with no paid sick days. Fact: Nearly 80 percent of wait staff and child-care workers do not have paid sick days. "I want sick employees to be able to stay home so that my customers can be assured that they are not getting more with their coffee than they paid for," Dean Cycon, Dean's Beans Organic Coffee Company, said. Let's keep our community healthy this flu season! Event speakers will include: State Reps. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera, Ellen Story and Benjamin Swan, City of Springfield Department of Health & Human Services Director Helen R. Caulton-Harris and Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans Organic Coffee.

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