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People come to Studio 34: Yoga | Healing | Arts to find wellness and community. They work out in yoga classes, perhaps have a therapeutic massage, maybe meet other new mothers in a breastfeeding class. It’s wonderful to see so much activity, and it helps keep us all in good health. Yet everyone gets sick from time to time, and as a nurse, I know that when people get sick, they need rest.

Unfortunately, many people cannot take the time off from work that they need to get well, or to care for a sick family member. More than 200,000 Philadelphians work for employers who do not provide paid sick days. That forces workers to choose between their families’ health and their paychecks — or even their jobs. In my nearly two decades as a nurse, I have seen too many patients who have gotten sicker because they could not afford the time to get better. Even more dispiriting, I have seen many conditions worsen because patients could not take time off to seek relatively simple preventive care. That’s not healthy for workers, for their children — or for anyone who eats at a restaurant, shops at a store, or visits an office where sick employees must come to work.

Luckily, the Philadelphia City Council has a chance to change this. As early as next month, the council could vote to approve the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance. This law would allow Philadelphia workers to earn paid sick time they could use for their own illness, preventive care or to care for a family member.

The path to wellness starts with personal choices, yet it also depends on one’s community. Helping people find their way to health is why I trained as a nurse, and it’s why my co-founders and I started Studio 34 in 2008. Now the City Council has a chance to do its part — and so do you. Please urge your councilmember to vote for the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance. (Here’s more info about how you can help.)

Cross posted with permission from Studio 34 blog

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