BREAST CANCER: Getting Tested on Company Time
Lieutenant Gov. Cruz Bustamante, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, will kick off a statewide campaign today that encourages companies to grant employees paid time off once a year to get a clinical breast exam or mammogram, Sacramento Bee reports. The "Contract to Fight Breast Cancer," an effort to promote early detection of breast cancer -- the number two cancer killer of women -- "is voluntary for the employer and employee, [and] calls for a penalty-free leave" for women needing an exam. Organizers hope to attract "those companies, such as many in the fast food industry, that don't offer health insurance or paid leave to accommodate an employee's breast exam." Bustamante believes that by ensuring a healthy work force, the program also benefits employers. Thus far, Wells Fargo and Gap Inc. have committed to the contract, but according to Bustamante spokesperson Erin Garvey, several employers have already declined, citing existing policies within the company, as well as fairness issues. One company expressed concerns to Garvey that it would have to provide comparable time for other health screenings, such as testing for prostate cancer. Garvey, whose mother died of breast cancer earlier this year, hopes that the campaign will also serve to raise awareness of the importance of breast exams (LePage, 9/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.