Family Values @ Work

Job security in a life or death situation

Job security in a life or death situation

January 18, 2015

Dear President Obama,

I am a working mother and I strongly urge you to support legislation that would give all working parents access to paid sick days. My husband, son and I live in San Francisco (Hunter’s Point). We both work full time. I’ve been in my new job working as a consultant for 7 months. In my former job, I was lucky to have access to paid sick days because in January 2014, my son, Lawrence (LTP), suffered from a red zone asthma attack, and I think he would have died if I wasn’t able to take the time I needed to care for him.

That Wednesday morning in January, we did Lawrence’s normal asthma treatment: Two puffs of albuterol. But his wheezing and deep breathing continued. After about half an hour of trying the alternatives — sitting in a steamy bathroom, two buffs of flovent, offering teaspoons of honey, and sitting by the humidifier, I followed my mom instinct that Lawrence was in serious trouble. As my husband buckled Lawrence’s car seat, I sent an email to HR letting them know I would be using a paid sick day to care from my son.

If the emergency rooms offered frequent visit points similar to credit cards, the Pimentel family would have earned free flights around the world. That morning, as we passed the double ER doors, the nurses heard Lawrence’s cry and said “What’s wrong with our little friend LTP”. He was rushed to an hour breathing treatment that he fought because of fear, it took both my husband and I holding him since he was too scared of the mask that would save his life. Within ten minutes of breathing the medication he began to rest calmly in my arms as his breathing slowly stabilized. According to the doctor, without my husband and I being there for him, my son could have died. If he had fallen asleep he may not have woken. Because of paid sick days, I was able to care from my son without worrying about job security. A mother should never have to choose between her child, and job security in a life or death situation.

I am lucky to live in San Francisco and work in Oakland – two places that passed laws mandating 5-9 paid sick days. But I am connected to moms all over the country who do not have the right to take a paid day off when they are sick or their children need them. I urge you to support the Healthy Families Act and local efforts to make paid sick days a right for all workers.

Thank you for your time and your support for working families,


San Francisco, Ca



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