Moms to State Legislators: ‘Lack of Paid Sick Days is No Joke for Massachusetts Families’
January 13, 2011
Moms Deliver Oranges and Messages from Concerned Parents Encouraging Paid Sick Days Legislation
What did the mom say to the Massachusetts legislator? “Orange ya glad you have paid sick days? Don’t you think everyone should?” Massachusetts moms, dads and others asked lawmakers that very question today, when they visited the State House to deliver the message that workers should not have to choose between going to work sick and losing a day’s pay if they or a family member fall ill.
They delivered oranges with a knock-knock joke, and personal notes from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and others from across the Commonwealth urging them to support An Act to Establish Paid Sick Days (formerly S 688/H 1815). The bill would allow part-time and full-time workers to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to seven paid sick days a year. that emphasize the importance of paid sick days. Right now, over 40 percent of private sector workers in Massachusetts – 1.4 million people – are not able to earn paid sick days.
An Act to Establish Paid Sick Days would allow workers to use paid sick days for diagnosis or treatment of their own or a family member’s health condition and for preventive care. Victims of domestic violence would also be able to use paid sick days to address their medical, psychological and legal needs.
MomsRising, an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization for moms and everyone who has a mom, working to achieve economic security for all families in the United States, collected the messages through e-outreaches to its Massachusetts members. Among them were:
I am a pediatrician. It is dangerous when family members wait a long time before bringing in their children because they cannot miss a day of work. Additionally from a money-saving point of view, these same patients present to the emergency room after hours which is significantly more expensive than a pediatrician's office visit.
- Natalya Davis, North Weymouth, MA
Paid sick days are critical to workers! Please pass the paid sick days bill. I remember being an hourly employee and how difficult it was to lose a day or more pay because of illness. The majority of Americans are struggling mightily right now, living hand to mouth, and loss of pay for illness isn't right.
- Elissa Rogovin, Watertown, MA
I am a single mother of a little boy. I work a full time and a part time job. I also lost my mother and baby sister to cancer in the past year. Without paid sick days, I would not have been able to care for my mother/sister as they were sick and dying and/or visit them in the hospital. I would not be able to take care of my little boy when he is sick. Paid sick time should not be a luxury. It is a must for working families.
- Ellen Broadhurst, Easthampton, MA
Please don't make me risk other people's health so I can afford to feed my child!
- Mary Lou Pierron, Needham, MA
“Paid sick days for all employees in Massachusetts is long overdue. We need the support of every legislator to get this bill enacted this session,” said MomsRising Executive Director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Patricia Jehlen and Rep. Kay Khan, has been reported out favorably in two previous sessions by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. The Massachusetts Paid Leave Coalition and MomsRising.org co-sponsored today’s event to encourage new and returning legislators to co-sponsor the bill. The bill had 95 co-sponsors last session.
“Paid sick days are win-win. Businesses will benefit from healthier, productive workers who don’t infect others. Workers will have the peace of mind of knowing that they can take time off without sacrificing pay or a job. And the Commonwealth will save on health care costs because people will have the time to see their primary care providers for preventive care rather than ending up in emergency rooms,” said Melissa Gilbarg of the Coalition Against Poverty in New Bedford.
“This is a statewide problem and calls for a statewide solution,” said Mimi Ramos of New England United 4 Justice.