224495 A Million Advocates, Brought Together with Web 2.0, Changing Workplace Policies – Who Benefits the Most? (Hint: Not just the employees)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 3:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Mary Olivella, MPH , MomsRising.org, Kensington, CA
Katie Bethell, BA , MomsRising.org, Kensington, CA
During the peak of the H1N1 epidemic, health authorities urged the public to stay home from work and school when sick. However, over three quarters of low-wage workers in the United States are not allowed to take even one day off with compensation when they are sick. Even more are not allowed paid leave to care for a sick child.

Without paid sick days benefits, workers risk losing income or jobs if they take time off due to illness. Many are compelled to come to work sick or send their sick children to school. This is an on-going public health and social justice issue given the exposure to co-workers, families and communities.

In one study, more than half of African-American and Hispanic parents stated they were likely to lose income and have money problems if schools were closed due to influenza outbreaks. Mothers are especially affected by the lack of paid sick days given that women comprise the majority of low-wage earners and continue to bear the primary responsibility for family care.

This presentation will discuss the public health need for national paid sick days legislation to protect families and low-income communities. MomsRising.org's grassroots organizing to advance such legislation will also be discussed. MomsRising is a multicultural organization of one million members (mothers, fathers, grandparents and others) advocating for family health and economic security policies. MomsRising's use of Web 2.0 strategies to mobilize communities and gain media attention in support of paid sick days legislation will be highlighted.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1) Discuss the public health impact on working families and low-income communities of the absence of paid sick days policies. 2) Describe the advocacy actions of parents to influence passage of state and national paid sick days policies.

Keywords: Advocacy, Children's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Mary Olivella has worked in the public health field for over 20 years. She has been on the original team at MomsRising since its founding four years ago and is now the vice president and public health policy advisor for this multicultural organization of one million members. She previously held leadership positions at UC Berkeley’s health services where she also taught courses in public health and published in peer review journals.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.