It may seem like common sense to stay home from work and rest if you feel ill, not just for your own health, but so you do not spread your illness to others. However, for many workers in Kentucky this is simply not a feasible option.

The Kentucky Center for Economic Polices reports that Kentucky is part of an area of the U.S. where employers do not offer workers paid sick leave. In Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, approximately 40% of private sector employers do not provide employees with paid sick leave. This can make life very difficult for Kentucky workers and their families.

This is especially troubling because the types of jobs that generally do not provide workers paid sick leave, such as daycare employees, home health aides, those working in the retail or restaurant industries and nursing home employees have consistent interaction with members of the public. If these employees are sick but must go to work or face not being paid, they could in turn make members of the public ill as well.

One Kentucky state senator has introduced a bill that would mandate paid sick leave for workers in Kentucky. Under the bill, workers would receive eight hours of sick leave after completing 120 hours on-the-job and after that would be entitled to 1½ hours of sick leave for every 30 hours that they are on-the-job.

As of right now, this bill is just that—a bill—and currently Kentucky does not mandate paid sick leave for all workers. Whether that will change remains to be seen, so Kentucky employees without paid sick leave will want to track this legislation carefully, as its passage could significantly impact their lives.