Victory in Philadelphia as the Push for a National Standard Grows Stronger

by | Feb 19, 2015 | Paid Sick Days

Progress in the nationwide effort to increase access to paid sick days continued at the federal and local levels last week.

On Thursday, Senator Patty Murray (D – Wash.) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D – Conn.) reintroduced the Healthy Families Act – legislation that would establish a national paid sick days standard. At a press conference that morning, the two champions for working families told a packed room that it’s time for all lawmakers to stand up for the more than 43 million people nationwide who are too often forced to choose between their jobs and their health or the health of their families because they cannot earn a single paid sick day.

The two lawmakers were joined by several paid sick days supporters, including National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra Ness; the lead sponsor of a statewide paid sick days bill in Maryland, State Senator Catherine Pugh; MomsRising member and child care worker Rebecca Feibel; faith leader Rabbi Warren Stone; and Dana Zemel, people operations coordinator at Blue Bottle Coffee, which operates in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York City and Japan.

Meanwhile, 140 miles north of Washington, D.C., members of the Philadelphia City Council voted 14-2 to approve a paid sick days standard for their city – securing the second paid sick days victory of the year. Later that day, advocates from the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces, workers, community members and lawmakers gathered at City Hall to watch Mayor Michael Nutter sign the hard-won ordinance. The law, which is set to take effect in May, will allow approximately 200,000 workers who did not have paid sick days before to gain access through the law.

Philadelphia’s new law, like those already in place in cities and states across the country, is huge for workers covered by its protections, but tens of millions of people still don’t have access to this basic right. That’s why a diverse group of organizations, allies and lawmakers hailed last week’s progress while calling on Congress to prioritize passage of a national paid sick days standard. The result is a series of press statements, blog posts and op-eds that provide a clear call to action (see below).

Many organizations and individuals also showed their support for paid sick days through social media. More than 1,500 tweets were sent using #HFAnow, including by members of Congress like Senator Murray, Representative DeLauro and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D – N.Y.). Groups like TakeAction Minnesota thanked one of their own representatives, Senator Al Franken (D – Minn.), for supporting the Healthy Families Act. And Philadelphia advocates continue to use #PHLsickdays to elevate their victory and call for more action.

Sampling of Press Statements, Op-eds and Blog Posts:

Lead Sponsors of the Healthy Families Act
Murray, DeLauro Introduce Healthy Families Act

9to5, National Association of Working Women
The Healthy Families Act: For Healthy Families, Healthy Businesses and a Healthy Economy

A Better Balance
Protect America’s Working Families by Passing the Healthy Families Act

Healthy Families Act Would Let Workers Earn Paid Sick Days

Paid Sick Leave: A Workplace Standard for the 21st Century

American Sustainable Business Council
Policy Points: Bringing America’s Workforce into the 21st Century

Center for American Progress
Congressional Proposal to Strengthen Paid Sick Leave Requirements

Center for Economic and Policy Research
For paid sick days legislation, this time may be different

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Persistence Pays Off for Earned Sick Days Advocates; State, Local Momentum Driving National Action

EMILY’s List
EMILY’s List Statement on Healthy Families Act

Family Values @ Work
Philadelphia Paid Sick Days: Anatomy of a Win

Florida Institute for Reform & Empowerment
Floridians Battle for National Paid Sick Leave Law

Make It Work
Healthy Families Act is Momentous Step for Working Families
Vivien Labaton and Tracy Sturdivant: “We urge Congress to pass this bill quickly and deliver it to President Obama. Ensuring paid sick days for all workers is in the best interest of our families, our communities, and our economy.”

Brain, Child Magazine: Policy Update from Valerie Young

Healthy Families Act Would Benefit Moms, Families and Businesses
Statement from Maryland MomsRising member Rebecca Fiebel

National Partnership for Women & Families
The Country Needs Congress to Pass the Healthy Families Act, Women’s Leader Says
Huge Win for Philadelphia as City Council Passes Country’s Second Citywide Paid Sick Days Standard of 2015

Next Generation
It’s Time for the Healthy Families Act

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Paid Sick Days Bill Answers Moral Call for Economic Justice
The Moral Call to Pass the Healthy Families Act