Americans infected by the H1N1 flu virus would be guaranteed paid sick leave under emergency legislation U.S. Senator Chris Dodd plans to unveil on Tuesday in response to the swine flu pandemic.
Dodd's measure is similar to one already introduced in the House of Representatives intended to ensure that sick employees do not spread the virus to others.
Dodd's office said the bill he is preparing would help people who have to chose between losing a day's pay or possibly infecting co-workers.
The legislation is intended to slow the spread of the disease by encouraging those who have it to stay at home instead of come to work, while making it easier for parents to care for sick children or deal with school closings, the senator's office said in a statement.
Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat who chairs a Senate subcommittee on children and families, will announce the proposal at a hearing on Tuesday, according to the statement.
California Representative George Miller last week proposed emergency legislation that would require employers who tell workers to stay home when they are sick to give them paid time off for up to five days.
Miller, a Democrat who chairs the House Education and Labor Committee, said the emergency law would cover pandemic H1N1 flu or any other infectious disease.
Health officials have been urging anyone with flu-like symptoms such as cough and fever to stay home, but up to 50 million Americans risk a day's pay and perhaps their jobs if they do.
The pandemic H1N1 virus has infected millions globally, with more than 5,000 documented deaths.