(CNN) - The coughing co-worker you wish would have stayed home might have an excuse for suffering though the day.
As it turns out, many sick Americans can't afford to miss work.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly a third of the nation's workers can not take sick days.
While most full-time employees get paid sick days, only a fraction of part-time workers get them.
The lack of paid sick days for these employees raises the risks on the general public as the flu outbreak hits early and hard this year.
The flu season can also be costly for businesses.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that even a typical flu season costs companies about $10.4 billion in direct costs for hospitalization and outpatient visits for adults.