Flu season is upon us. From November to March, an estimated five to 20 percent of U.S. residents—or 16 to 63 million Americans—will get the flu. One study estimates that the flu leads to $16.3 billion in lost earnings each year.
American workers who have children not only have to worry about missing work when they are ill, but also when their kids get sick. A sick child can often mean having to call into work to take a day off, which matters a lot to the 59 percent of married couples with children in the U.S. who report both parents working.
A new study looks at the gender and financial breakdown of how families with working parents cope when kids get sick. The study finds that women are 10 times more likely than men to take time off to stay home with their sick children. Mothers are also five times more likely to take their sick kids to doctors appointments.
For working moms, 39 percent report missing work to care for their sick children, 33 percent report sharing the responsibility with their spouse, 16 percent report calling someone else to help, and 6 percent report their partner taking time off. Of the 39 percent of women who report taking time off to care for their sick children 60 percent report not getting paid. That’s up significantly from 2004, when 45 percent reported not being paid for missing work.