Dear Mr. President,
My name is Paula and I live in Portland, Oregon. I have lived here for the last nine years. I am the sole breadwinner in my family and have been for the past several years. I am proud to say that I have successfully completed my Associates Degree. I am now committed to helping support her husband through school in hope that our education will allow us to improve our lives.
My paycheck is crucial to my family’s survival. Even missing a few hours of work is felt at the end of the month. Having the flu and having to miss even eight hours results in decisions of which of my family’s needs will have to be cut at the end of the month. And, it’s not clothes or entertainment but electricity or food. I have at times borrowed money from my parents to keep food on our table and I am saddened to say I haven’t always been able to keep the lights on.
I have worked at the same job for almost four years. I love my job and feel fortunate to have it. I consider myself a really good employee and I am happy to show up for work. I have at times had to work when sick. My litmus test was: if I could get myself out of bed, while feeling quite ill, I had to go to work. I would then pretend to feel well while risking other people’s health and worsening mine because the cost of staying home was too great.
With the implementation of the Portland sick days law I have gotten this response from my boss when I called in sick: “Your paid sick days will cover it. Stay home and rest up.” That is an overwhelming relief because it means I can both put food on the table and care for myself.
The Paid Sick Time Ordinance passed in Portland has made a tremendous positive impact on my life and my family. I firmly believe that paid sick days are in the best interest of individuals, families and employers. I am very grateful for the Portland law and excited for the possibility for all Oregonians to have Paid Sick Days.
Thank you, Mr. President for taking the time to read my story and I hope it helps give you a better picture of what it will mean for all Oregonians to have Paid Sick Days. Please encourage our Governor and state legislators to pass a paid sick days law for all workers in our state.