Despite the bleak news coming from across the country regarding budget deficits and workers’ rights, paid sick days campaigns are still providing bright spots in this tough policy year. On Tuesday, after a packed rally and a long but successful hearing, the Philadelphia Public Health and Human Services Committee voted to move the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Bill out of Committee. The Philadelphia bill will now go on to consideration by the full City Council.
Testimony came from national experts, local advocates, workers, and businesses. One testifier, Dewetta Logan, is the owner of Smart Beginnings Early learning Center in West Philadelphia . She testified that “Offering paid sick days to my employees has increased the productivity at Smart Beginnings by allowing us to produce consistently quality childcare…. My employees use their paid sick days wisely and responsibly, and have in no way taken advantage of them.”
Another testifier, Diane Mohney, was a school nurse for 29 years and now works as a substitute school nurse on occasion. She said “For a number of reasons I support the paid sick leave legislation before City Council. As a nurse, I see this legislation as a way of protecting the public, one’s co-workers, and students from illnesses carried into places of employment and schools. I support it because parents need to be able to stay home with sick children, they need to be able to come to school for their children when they become ill during the school day, and they need to be able to take them for medical appointments. Emergency rooms are not geared to the provision of primary care, nor should they be. Teachers and other students should not be exposed to communicable diseases. Ill children should not have to endure the rigors of a school day when they should be home in bed.”
We would like to thank the members of the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces as well as the City Council members who voted (unanimously!) for the bill. But we know this is also a time to keep moving forward on sick days for the 41 percent of workers in Philadelphia who must choose between working sick and losing their pay (or their jobs). If you live in Philadelphia and want to support earned sick days, please visit our blog to learn what actions you can take.