Last month, Philadelphia became the twentieth city to pass earned sick day legislation.
Today, Pennsylvania lawmakers moved to undo that victory by not only banning every other municipality across the state from mandating earned paid sick leave, but adding an amendment to SB333 specifying the law, if implemented, would retroactively take effect January 1.
Philadelphia passed its ordinance on February 12.
Why We Need Paid Sick Days
Women’s Law Project is proud to have been a part of a broad-based coalition that advocated for the common-sense measure by submitting formal testimony to Philadelphia City Council. Earned paid sick days is, after all, a women’s issue.
National Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that low-income workers, who are disproportionately women and minorities, have less access to paid sick leave than other workers. Women are disproportionately the primary caregivers in modern families and increasingly, the primary breadwinners too. In a recent survey, 47 percent of women who stayed home to care for a sick child reported losing pay, a particularly difficult burden in tough economic times. Workers without paid sick leave are less likely to receive the healthcare they need in general, according to the CDC.
More facts about earned paid sick days from the Department of Labor:
* Workers who had access to paid sick days were 28 percent less likely to be injured on the job
*Offering even one paid “flu day” reduced flu transmission by 25 percent
*Another study concluded that there could have been 5 million fewer individuals contracting the H1N1 virus during the 2009 pandemic if workers had access to paid sick days
As earned paid sick leave gains momentum around the country, Senator Patty Murray and Representative Rosa DeLauro reintroduced the federal Healthy Families Act.
“I believe that in 30 years, we will look back at this as the moment we began to turn the corner,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, “when a sleeper issue finally began to awaken and when grass roots momentum began to gather steam and roll toward a broad national consensus.”
That is, except here in Pennsylvania–if this bill is allowed to pass.
In the memo circulated seeking co-sponsorship for the bill, Senator John Eichelberger cites no research. He simply declared his intent to legislate “clear state preemption of local mandated leave ordinances” by arguing “uniformity is important.”
Uniformity is important: The United States is the only industrialized country without mandatory paid sick days.
Don’t let Pennsylvania roll backwards on this issue as the rest of the country moves forward. Urge your representatives to say no to Senate Bill 333.