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Press Conference 8/17/10 at 12 PM in Capitol Rotunda: One Size Doesn’t Fit All When it Comes to Sick Days However, No One Should Have to Live with Extra Small

In Pennsylvania, approximately 46% of all workers do not have access to earned sick days.

HARRISBURG— On August 17, the House’s Labor Relations Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the Healthy Families, Healthy Workplaces Act (HB 1830), which gives Pennsylvania’s workers the opportunity to earn up to 6.5 days (52 hours) of paid sick time. Workers would be permitted to use the hours they earn to care for themselves or a family member when they are sick. This bill has the support of the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces, which is made up of a broad range of workers, nonprofit organizations, labor groups, and legislators.

Currently in Pennsylvania 46% of workers have no earned sick days, and a majority of employees without this benefit work in food service and care giving positions. When workers without earned sick days are sick, they have to choose between going to work – where they could potentially infect co-workers or customers – and staying home – where they will lose pay and possibly their job.

“In Pennsylvania, you shouldn’t have to risk your job to take care of your family,” said Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA. “We are in the 21st century, but our workplaces are operating under 19th century rules. If we believe in family values, those values should not stop at the workplace door.”

Earned sick days allows families to stay economically secure while they keep their families physically secure. The fear of job loss when workers have no access to sick days is very real. Nearly one in four workers without paid sick days (23 percent) in a recent poll has lost a job or been told they would lose it for taking time to care for a sick family member or a personal illness.

Providing earned sick days has proven to be smart for businesses as well as for workers. Research shows that the costs of replacing workers, including advertising, interviewing and training new employees, far outweighs the cost of retaining employees by offering earned sick days. Additionally, presenteeism, when workers come to work sick, costs the national economy about 180 billion a year in lost productivity versus absenteeism. Furthermore, under this bill, businesses can use the sick days, vacation days, and personal days they already offer to match up with the 6.5 days that workers earn each year. This flexibility allows employers to create the policy that best fits their business, without leaving employees struggling to fit into an “extra small.”

Speakers at tomorrow’s press conference will include:
  • Representative Marc Gergely
  • Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA
  • Robert Drago, Ph.D., Research Director for the Institute for Women's Policy Research
  • Kate Etherington, Senior Program Director for the Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility
  • Rebecca Foley, Director of Education and Advocacy Initiatives, WOMEN'S WAY

PathWays PA began in 1978 as the Women's Association for Women's Alternatives, one of Pennsylvania's first residential programs to keep low-income, vulnerable women together with their children. It has grown to become one of the Greater Philadelphia region's foremost providers of residential and community-based services for women and their children. Each year PathWays PA serves more than 6000 women, children and families who reside in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Chester counties through a full complement of social services, job training and employment assistance, outreach and residential programs.

The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces is a group of organizations supporting the need for earned sick days in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. It is primarily coordinated by PathWays PA and WOMEN’S WAY. Coalition members include

Childspace CDI ▪ CLASP ▪ Coalition of Labor Union Women ▪ Institute for Women's Policy Research ▪ Maternity Care Coalition ▪ MomsRising ▪ National Partnership for Women & Families ▪ National Organization for Women (Philadelphia Chapter) ▪ PathWays PA ▪ People's Emergency Center ▪ Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility ▪ Philadelphia Security Officers Union ▪ SEIU ▪ The Campaign for Working Families ▪ Women's Law Project ▪ WOMEN'S WAY ▪ Women Vote PA


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