Unusual Amount Of Cook County Jail Staff Call Off, May Be For Cubs Game

CHICAGO (CBS) — An unusually large amount of guards and officers at the Cook County Jail have called in sick on Saturday, leading some to believe the Chicago Cubs mania has something to do with it.

As the Cubs prepare to welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to town for game one of the NLCS, Cook County Jail officials are scrambling to keep the facility fully staffed, after more than 240 workers called in sick.

Cara Smith, Chief Policy Officer for Sheriff Tom Dart, said that has a direct effect on state taxpayers.

“We use every possible tool we can to reduce the impact that these staffing issues have on taxpayers,” Smith said. “But we have 8,300 people behind the walls that we need to care for and support the staff that’s there.”

Smith said a majority of workers are using their Intermittent Family Medical Leave coverage, which she describes as a ‘get out of jail free card.’

“It covers serious medical conditions that creep up intermittently,” Smith said. “Migraines, it might be a bad back, it’s some condition that’s serious, according to federal law, but you can’t predict.”

Smith said it is hard to monitor who is actually sick and who is just hoping to catch the Cubs game. So the jail is simply telling employees “if you can be here, be here.”

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