On March 14, 2013, Philadelphia City Council passed a bill providing the opportunity for most workers in the city of Philadelphia to earn paid sick days. Mayor Michael Nutter has until April 4, 2013, to sign the bill into law or to let it leave his desk unsigned.
Either choice will pave the way for nearly 200,000 workers in Philadelphia to have access to earned sick days for the first time.
Until April 4, or until the Mayor signs the bill, NutterWatch will be here to give you the latest updates and to share the latest stories. To add your name to a petition asking Mayor Nutter to sign the bill, please click here.
When we think about the need for earned sick days, most people point to the restaurant industry as the place most in need of a minimum standard. Restaurant workers come into contact with our food at all points of the process, and in Philadelphia, 92% (more than the industry standard) have no access to earned sick days.
However, restaurant workers are not the only ones we should worry about. Among the nearly 200,000 workers without earned sick days, many, in fact, are child care workers. Many families trust their children to child care centers each day without thinking about the benefits that those workers do (or do not) earn. But workers are at risk of giving and receiving illnesses in addition to education and care in many facilities.
One worker, Karen, testified at the March 5 Philadelphia hearing on earned sick days that she contracted impetigo from a child in her classroom. Karen was hospitalized for three days and missed two weeks of work (and pay) while recovering. While this incident happened in early November 2012, Karen and her family are still trying to recover from the financial impact of the lost income.
Dewetta Logan, a child care owner in West Philadelphia, sees the need to offer earned sick days from a practical and a compassionate side. She says:
The children in our care are the top priority for my business, so it doesn't make sense to have one of our employees working while sick. When members of my staff aren't feeling well, they can't give the children their full attention. Furthermore, coughs and colds can spread quickly among children, and I don't want to be responsible for sickening a child who started the day healthy.Shouldn't the health of our children (and those who care for them) be everyone's top priority? If you agree, please tell Mayor Nutter by signing our petition today.
In The News
Today in The Huffington Post, Ellen Bravo of Family Values at Work looks at what is driving the momentum behind earned sick days. She says:
Key to success has been engaging workers who know all too well what it means to lack paid sick days -- people like Shayna, a therapeutic activities worker at a nursing home in Philadelphia who had to go work with an injured hip, or Tamara in New York, who after caring for her sick daughter had to decide whether the lost pay meant going without a metro card or without a phone.
Local business partners are also important, because they help shatter the identity theft of corporate lobbyists who claim to speak for all employers. Small business owners like Leni Juca, owner of Oxium Print and Copy in Queens, N.Y., say their employees already earn paid sick days because it's the smart as well as the right thing to do. "With a small business like this one," Juca said, "we can't afford to get each other sick."
Where in the World is Mayor Nutter?
Mayor Nutter is scheduled to be at the 2PM Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival Kickoff Event. You can find his daily schedule at http://www.phila.gov/mayor/itinerary.html.