Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Media Advisory: Earned Sick Days a Public Health Priority



Earned sick days a public health priority, says former health commissioner

PHILADELPHIA - On Thursday, March 24, 2011, a well-known public health advocate and the Executive Officer of the Work and Family Researchers Network will join the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces and others in supporting the proposed City Council bill on earned sick days. Dr. Walter Tsou, MD, MPH, the former health commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, plans to speak on behalf of earned sick days during the city's public comment period. Dr. Jerry A. Jacobs, Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and Executive Officer of the Work and Family Researchers Network, will also speak on the bill.

Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (Bill 080474) is a bill that would allow workers the opportunity to earn up to nine days of sick time per year, was voted out of the Public Health and Human Services Committee on March 1. The bill could affect up to 200,000 workers in Philadelphia who do not have access to paid sick days.

With over 40 percent of Philadelphians lacking earned sick days, a large portion of the population cannot take the time off work to go see a doctor or obtain medical treatment - regardless of the medical coverage they have.

Employees with earned sick days are more likely to stay home when they are sick, limiting the spread of the illness and protecting co-workers, customers, or anyone else they meet during the work day. During the height of the H1N1 pandemic, people were urged to stay home if they had any signs of the flu, however, those without earned sick days were less likely to stay home because they could not afford to. As a result, nearly 8 million H1N1 cases were traced back to employees going to work while sick.

Dr. Tsou and Dr. Jacobs will be available to make brief comments and answer questions in City Hall at 9:30am before Council Session begins.

What: Public Health and Earned Sick Days Press Conference

When: Thursday, March 24, 2011

Time: 9:30 a.m.

Where: City Hall, 4th Floor, Outside Council Chambers

Who:

Dr. Walter Tsou, MD, MPH, Former Health Commissioner, Philadelphia Department of Health

Dr. Jerry A. Jacobs, Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and Executive Officer of the Work and Family Researchers Network

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