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May 13, 2011

Family Values @ Work Director Ellen Bravo Honored as “Visionary” by Ford Foundation 

Recognized for Helping Working Families Achieve Economic Security

New York– The movement for paid sick days continued to build momentum with the announcement that Ellen Bravo of Family Values @ Work was recognized by the Ford Foundation as one of 12 visionaries – leaders who “through their extraordinary vision and courageous work, are improving the lives of millions of people.” Family Values @ Work is a 15 state consortium of coalitions working on the cutting edge of work-family issues, including paid sick days, family leave insurance and other policies that benefit working families. The news comes as paid sick days could become a reality for workers in Connecticut and Philadelphia in the next two months, and as a growing body of academic research shows that paid sick days provide substantial benefits for employees, employers, the public and the economy with little or no cost to employers.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Ford Foundation for our work to make sure that no one has to choose between the job they need and the family they love,” said Ellen Bravo, Director of Family Values @ Work. “We applaud the foundation for understanding that policies that value families at work are integral to economic security for workers, families, communities, and the nation as a whole.”

By the end of the year, hundreds of thousands of workers across the country could have new access to paid sick days.  Campaigns for paid sick days and paid family leave policies are active in Connecticut, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle and more than a dozen other states, where advocates are mobilizing diverse coalitions of public health advocates, workers, women’s organizations, labor unions and small businesses.

San Francisco and Washington, DC have already implemented paid sick days laws. Several studies of San Francisco’s law, which has been in effect since 2007, show that workers are healthier and more productive when they have access to paid sick days.  The studies also refute corporate lobbyists’ predictions that legislation negatively impacts job growth and the economy.  In fact, six in seven employers surveyed said that paid sick days have had no negative effect on profitability, and two-thirds of employers support the law.

Bravo, who helped establish Family Values @ Work in 2003, has been a lifelong advocate for working families. For more than 20 years, she helped lead 9to5, a nonprofit which is on the cutting edge of fights for fairness for temporary and part-time workers, for pay equity, to end harsh welfare laws and to create family leave. Bravo’s efforts with Family Values @ Work have helped build support for paid family leave policies in California, New Jersey and Washington, and for paid sick days in a number of cities.  She is also the author of several books, most recently ‘Taking on the Big Boys,’ which builds on her experience to show activist strategies for systemic change for women. In addition, Bravo has served on several state and federal commissions, including the bi-partisan Commission on Leave appointed by Congress to study the impact of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

According to the Ford Foundation: “The 12 visionaries represent the thousands of brilliant people and organizations the foundation has supported since its founding in 1936. They come from diverse backgrounds and work in a variety of fields—from human rights to technology to education, both in the United States and around the world.”