In late June, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter vetoed a bill that would’ve guaranteed paid sick days to employees of many small businesses within the City of Brotherly Love. Nutter justified his action by saying that the bill would have been be too burdensome on businesses.
Now, a Philadelphia woman has lost her job for taking time off to undergo a medical operation that helped save her son’s life. Mother Claudia Rendon had already used up her vacation days for the year after the death of both her mother and uncle and finding out her father had leukemia. But when doctors told her that her son needed a kidney for a life-saving operation, she didn’t hesitate to take some time off from her job at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance for the procedure.
Before she went under the knife, her employer made her sign a paper saying her job would not be guaranteed when she returned. And after she returned to work, she was told that she was fired. Her son, whose life was saved by the operation, is thankful for Rendon’s sacrifice. “She saved my life basically,” he noted. “Who else can say their mom gave them life two times?” The local Fox affiliate covered Rendon’s story. Watch it:
According to research by University of Missouri-St. Louis Associate Professor Kenneth Thomas, the U.S. has the weakest labor protections in the developed world. The U.S. is the only developed country that does not require employers to provide their employees with some paid time off to deal with illness. It is estimated that the lack of paid sick leave costs the United States $180 billion annually in productivity, due to workers coming to work sick and infecting their colleagues.
Earlier this year, Connecticut lawmakers made their state the first in the nation to guarantee sick leave for hundreds of thousands of workers. This week, the Seattle city council voted 8-1 to mandate paid sick days for all firms with more than five employees. The Philadelphia city council is looking for ways to get around the mayor’s veto of the sick day’s legislation, including amending the city’s living wage law to require sick days for city contractors.