Katie Couric's Notebook: Affording Sick Days

(AP)
Does this happen at your office? The guy at the next desk coughs and sneezes all day long. You keep your distance and wonder, why didn't he just stay home?

It may be because he wouldn't get paid.

Well, there's a move in Congress to change that. The Healthy Families Act would force companies with at least 15 employees to provide up to seven paid sick days a year. Workers could use them, not just for when they're sick, but to care for a child, parent, or spouse.

Business groups vow a fight, arguing that with so many companies on the brink in this economy, it's the wrong time to make them pay more. But supporters insist this affects all of us. Half of private sector workers, three quarters of low wage earners get docked when they're sick. They include day care workers, restaurant staff, and maybe the guy in the next cubicle. Happy, health employees are more productive employees. And more productive employees make for better business.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.