PHILADELPHIA COUNCIL VOTES FOR PAID SICK DAYS

Second Win This Month, Fourth City to Pass Legislation

Anyone who’s been to Philly knows about Philly cheesesteaks. When you buy one, you’ll be asked whether you want it with or without onions.

In the past several years, the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces, a member group of Family Values @ Work, has asked a more important question:  whether the person serving you is working with or without paid sick days.

Thanks to a massive grassroots effort in that city by the Coalition — now 106 organizations led by PathwaysPA — the answer for most workers will soon be “with!” Through an impressive combination of grassroots support, public rallies, op eds and personal appeals to Council members by constituents, the Coalition helped make the case. Today the Council voted by one vote to turn the modest paid sick days bill into law.

Workers in firms of more than 10 employees will be able to earn 7 paid sick days a year to recover from illness, access preventive care or look after a sick child or family member.  Those in firms with 5 to 10 workers will earn up to 4 days.

The news from Philadelphia comes less than two weeks after the Connecticut state legislature voted for the first-ever statewide paid sick days law. Several other cities and states across the country are actively considering similar legislation.

Next week, Seattle City Council plans to introduce a paid sick days bill which could come to a vote in August..  A broad coalition in Denver is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative in November, and in New York City, 35 City Council members are sponsoring a paid sick days law.  A hearing is scheduled in Massachusetts in July. In Georgia, a bi-partisan group of state legislators led by five Republicans is supporting a bill that would ensure workers could use sick time to care for their children and loved ones.

“We applaud Phildelphia’s City Council members for standing on the side of workers, families and the economy,” said Ellen Bravo, Executive Director of Family Values @ Work. “Coalitions of working families are fighting for such legislation across the country so that taking care of yourself or a loved one will not cost anyone a paycheck or a job. The wave of votes this year demonstrates the strong public support for paid sick days – a small step with enormous impact on public health and on job preservation.”

“Philadelphians from all walks of life came together to fight for paid sick days for everyone in our city,” said Marianne Bellesorte, director of the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces in Philadelphia and Senior Director of Policy at PathWays PA. “This is a common sense measure to preserve public health and promote economic security.”

Polling in cities and states across the country shows overwhelming support for paid sick days.  Polling in Connecticut released this week shows that 72 percent of voters, including 50 percent of Republican voters, support the newly passed measure.  The strong showing of bipartisan support among voters for paid sick days is not unusual – survey after survey across the country has shown voters of both parties want this modest reform that promotes a healthier workforce and strengthens the economy.

Coalitions from other states in the Family Values @ Work consortium working for paid sick days legislation are celebrating the win for working families in Philadelphia.

“The passage of paid sick days in Philadelphia is a great success for the city and for the entire nation. Denver is excited to follow in Philadelphia and Connecticut’s footsteps and provide paid sick days for all workers so that no one has to lose pay or risk losing a job because they have to care for themselves or their family,” said Erin Bennett, Executive Director of Denver 9to5 and director of the Colorado Paid Sick Days Coalition.

“The Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce includes more than 70 community, labor and faith organizations and local businesses. Together, we’ve developed a proposal that offers a responsible and flexible way to ensure everyone has paid sick days — helping to keep people healthy, prevent the spread of disease, and promote more productive workplaces. We’re excited with this win and to see so much enthusiasm about paid sick days, both here in Seattle and across the country!” said Marilyn Watkins, director of the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce and Policy Director of the Economic Opportunity Institute.

“Across the country, working people and elected officials understand that paid sick days is a policy that’s good for the public health, good for families and good for the economy.  It’s time for New York City to join the movement to ensure working families do not have to choose between their financial security and their health or the health of their families,” said Donna Dolan, Chair of the New York State Paid Leave Coalition, a growing coalition of more than 400 community organizations, labor unions and businesses including school nurses, public health groups, restaurant workers and HIV-AIDS service providers.

For more stories from workers and business leaders, visit: http://familyvaluesatwork.org/blog/2011/06/03/workers-and-business-owners-speak-out-for-paid-sick-days/ .