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Ruth Martin's picture

Planning, preparation, prevention – it all comes with the territory of being a mom. We try to head off as many accidents and illnesses as we can; we child-proof, we carry hand sanitizer, and we teach our kids to wash their hands. But there is a big hole in our safety net:  Two out of five – that’s 41% - of Philadelphia employees are not allowed by their employers to earn even a single paid sick day to care for their own health and thousands more are unable to take a paid day to care for a sick child or parent.  [1]

This is a big problem.  Everyone gets sick at some point or another, but when sick folks aren’t able to stay home it puts everyone’s health at risk – coworkers, restaurant patrons, school kids, and, well, everyone. Allowing workers with contagious diseases to avoid unnecessary contact with co-workers and customers is a fundamental public health measure.

Recently, MomsRising and other members of the Philadelphia Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces asked people who live or work in Philadelphia to share their personal stories in order to educate our leaders and the public about the need for earned sick days.  One thing became perfectly clear: Moms Know Best, Even an Apple a Day Can’t Keep the Doctor Away – Philadelphians Need Earned Sick Days.

These stories speak of the impossible choices, struggles, and the sometimes improbable triumphs of mothers and fathers to care for their children and other loved ones when too many people aren’t able to earn paid sick days.

Stories like Kate’s.  Kate is a single mom to a child with a host of medical issues including life-threatening food allergies, asthma and Asperger’s. Kate’s son required hospitalization and because she had to take – unpaid – time off to be with him, she ended up losing her job.

Or stories like Sara’s whose daughter gave birth prematurely. Both Sara’s daughter and her daughter’s newborn infant were in critical medical condition.   Because Sara was able to earn sick days, Sara could take time to be with her sick daughter and grandbaby in the hospital when her family needed her the most.

You can read more of these stories here.

And you can read more about the need for earned sick days and the work that is going on in Philadelphia by reading the writings in this blog carnival.

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but earned sick days are what really keep Philadelphia families healthy.

We’re hoping that the Philadelphia City Council and Mayor Nutter won’t be a bad apple – Philadelphia workers need this bill! We ALL get sick. When we’re worried about our kids’ health or our own health, we shouldn’t also have to worry if we’ll still have a job when we get better.

[1]  Amy Traub, Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, “Paid Sick Time: Healthy for Philadelphia Workers and Businesses”, 2010


In the City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love, A Chance to Stand Up For Working Families, by Vicki Shabo, National Partnership for Women and Families. "With more than 210,000 working people in Philadelphia lacking access to paid sick days, approving a law to establish a standard should be common sense for the City Council."

Bad Economics Meet Paid Sick Days in Philadelphia, by Robert Drago, Institute for Women's Policy Research. "A new study for the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) estimates that Philadelphia’s proposed paid sick days legislation would cost employers between $350 million and $752 million annually. Both the factual basis and the assumptions underlying this study are seriously flawed."

Support Paid Sick Days In Philadelphia! by Angie Norris, Studio 34 Yoga. A Philadelphia nurse who's also a small business owner shares her perspective on providing paid sick days. Thank you to Angie for providing earned sick time!

Rooting for Passage of Paid Sick Days in Philadelphia, by Ellen Bravo. "I carry the picture of children who send themselves to school sick or injured because they don’t want their mom to lose her job."

It's Time Now for Workers To Be Able to Earn Paid Sick Days in Philly and Across the Country, by Linda Meric, Executive Director of 9to5. "In order to strengthen jobs and the economy, safeguard public health and protect working families, we need paid sick days – in Philly and across the country."

Philadelphia Paid Sick Days Law Would Allow Workers to Take Care of Their Chronic Conditions, by Andrea Lindemann, CLASP. "It’s simple: when you ensure pay and job security for an employee needing to visit the doctor, it is more likely that employees will receive regular care for chronic conditions or for other health needs.  It’s good for workers, and it’s good for business."

In Philadelphia, A Healthy Workforce and a Healthy Business Environment Go Together, by Amy Traub, Demos. "In an era of high unemployment, good policymaking also requires that we answer another question: how would guaranteeing all working people in Philadelphia the right to earn paid sick leave impact the city’s economy?"

Philadelphians deserve right to time off when sick, by Kathy Black, president of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, Philadelphia chapter. "Paid sick days is a policy that’s good for workers, good for families and good for our community. And businesses in other cities that have a paid sick day law say the law has no negative impact on profitability – by a measure of 6 to 1!"

Apocalypse Never: Earned Sick Days Provide Benefit, Not Doom, by Jake Blumgart. "Rather than just making fretful predictions, we should look at empirical evidence gathered from successfully implemented paid sick leave bills."

This boss doesn't mind paid sick days, by Dewetta Logan. The owner of a small childcare center in West Philly shares her experience in providing earned sick time. And-- BIG thank you to Dewetta for protecting your employees and the kids you all care for by providing earned sick time!

Economists say paid sick days will help Philadelphia make progress toward economic recovery, by Marianne Bellesorte.

Letter to the Editor: Workers Need the Opportunity to Earn Sick Days, by Diane Mohney. Certified school nurse offers her 29 years of wisdom and experience in explaining the need for sick days. Scroll all the way to the end to check it out.

Faith leaders sign letter in support of earned sick days in Philadelphia, by Kate Scully. Faith leaders sign a letter to Mayor Nutter in support of providing all workers in Philadelphia with the opportunity to earn paid sick days.

Philadelphia Business Journal: Sick Days for Healthy Recovery, by Eileen Appelbaum and Lonnie Golden. "Mandating paid sick days is one policy that will help employers keep workers in jobs." Subscribers can read the entire article.

Every Parent wants to protect their children, by Barbara Lovelace of north Philadelphia. Barbara shares the agonizing decision her daughter had to make: Stay by Barbara's side as she lay in the hospital's Intensive Care Unit, or return to her job as a cashier worrying about whether her mother would pass away while she was on the job.

Status Update: I support paid sick days!, by Marianne Bellesorte. If you can't make it to City Hall, join our virtual Facebook rally to support earned sick time in Philly!

Support Paid Sick Days For Philadelphia Families, by Jennifer at PhillyFun4Kids.We take a moment out of bringing you Philly's best family friendly free or mostly free fun to think about this...In Philadelphia over 40% of workers do not have the ability to earn any paid sick days.

Mothers Gather at Childspace to Support Earned Sick Days, by Zach Subar. Power of one(sies) decorated with messages like "Moms rock!" also tell the story of why paid sick days are a family friendly policy.

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