Moms 'Stroll' Over To Governor's Office To Talk Streamlined Sick-Time

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By: Mike Springer
June 4, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Several central Florida Moms strolled down to Governor Rick Scott's Office Tuesday to drop off stacks of signed petitions against House Bill 655.

"A mother like me should not have to make a choice around whether or not to care for my children when they are sick or family members or losing a day's pay of work," said Denise Diaz, a working mom.

House Bill 655 deals with sick time and living wage ordinances.

Under the bill, cities and counties would not have to go beyond any federal minimum wage or benefit requirements for things such as sick time.

Supporters say the bill streamlines local ordinances, making the state more attractive to potential businesses.

However, the women say it's hurtful to moms who work outside the home.

"We need to urge the Governor, Rick Scott, to think about the working mothers that never take welfare, food stamps, nothing like that because we are going to work," said Myriam Rivera, a working mom.

If the governor does sign the bill into law, it would take effect July 1.

The Governor's office says he will review the bill once he gets it.

Press Release: Organize Florida

TALLAHASSEE – A parade of working mothers pushing baby strollers today delivered more than 11,000 signed petitions to Governor Rick Scott urging him to veto HB 655 – a bill that stops local communities from passing ordinances to provide Earned Sick Time for employees.

More than two in five Florida workers do not have paid sick time now – meaning they lose wages and possibly their job for taking time to care for themselves or a sick family member. The lack of paid sick time hits working women especially hard – because it is most often women who have the responsibility for caring for a sick child or other family member.

“Women should not be forced to go without pay – or be forced to surrender their job – simply because they need to leave work to care for a sick child or family member,” noted Stephanie Porta of Organize Now, the organization that led the effort to put Earned Sick Time on the ballot in Orange County.

Porta added that getting paid time off is also crucial to combating a lingering wage gap between men and women -- women who only get unpaid time off to deal with illness, will always struggle to catch up in wages to men.

"When my kids get sick, the last thing I should have to worry about is losing my day's wages or worse — getting fired — when I stay home to take care of them or bring them to the doctor," said Denise Diaz, mother of two kids, who lives in Orlando. "I hope Gov. Scott will listen to me and women like me all across this state who shouldn't have to choose between our children's health and our families' financial security
Organize Now,, and the National Council of La Raza collected the petition names delivered to Governor Scott today. In addition, a sign-on letter including 50 organizations representing more than a 1.8 million Floridians calling on Scott to veto the preemption bill has also been delivered to the Governor.

“No parent should ever have to make the impossible choice between staying home with a sick child or a day’s pay,” said Executive Director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “Earned sick days are good for families, good for public health and even good for business. We’re calling on Gov. Scott to do the right thing by Florida moms and dads and veto this bill.”

Porta of Organize Now added that the veto is especially needed in the absence of expanded health care coverage, “Right now, Florida's hardworking families cannot afford to get sick because more than a million have been denied access to health care coverage and none of them will have Earned Sick Time protections. But Governor Scott can change this and help our families by vetoing HB 655.”
A recent PPP Poll found that 80% of likely Florida voters support Earned Sick Time. Of women who were surveyed, 86% support Earned Sick Time.

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