Healthy Families

Mamas on Bedrest: Denver is Poised to Pass Paid Sick Leave Bill

October 21st, 2011

Denver Colorado is poised to be the 4th US City to provide paid sick leave to its employees. Currently, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, DC all have laws guaranteeing workers a certain of number of paid sick days-days which workers can take due to their own illness or to care for a sick relative. Connecticut is the only state with a law that guarantees paid sick leave for its employees.

According to The Denver Post, Backers submitted 12,636 petition signatures to the Denver Elections Division — more than triple the 3,973 that must be verified by election officials within 25 days to place the measure on the November ballot. The clerk and recorder certified 7,248 petition signatures. On November 1, 2011 ballot, Denver voters will vote on Initiative 300, The Paid Sick Leave Bill, and decide whether or not to make paid sick days the law.

The bill has been contentiously debated. Many businesses, legislative officials (including Gov. John Hickenlooper) oppose the bill stating that it will cost Denver too much, some $700,000 annually, and only add to the current budget shortfall. They also contend that this bill will put Denver at a competitive disadvantage compared with other Colorado Cities who don’ t have such a mandated sick leave policy. The Majority of the Denver City Council opposes the bill as well.

However, the majority of Denver voters are in favor of the bill. Huff Post Denver reports that in a press release Kyle Legleiter, President of the Colorado Public Health Association said this about the ballot initiative:

“The paid sick and safe time ballot initiative protects the public’s health. Most of the workers who will earn paid sick and safe time for the first time are lower-wage workers who may expose the public to illnesses in restaurants, childcare centers and medical caregiving, all because they simply cannot afford to miss a day’s pay.”

Low income workers and minorities stand to benefit the most from passage of the paid sick leave bill. Huff Post Denver further reports,

“A recent study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that access to paid sick days in Denver, for private sector workers 18 years and older, varied widely based on ethnicity and race, with Latinos and African Americans lacking paid sick days at significantly higher rates. Most of the jobs without paid sick time are in service industries like restaurants, childcare, home healthcare and construction, where workers have a great deal of interaction with public. Read more about their findings here.”

While the Denver battle may seem remote to Mamas on Bedrest, it is indicative of the change that is coming. No longer is it okay for women, minorities and low income workers to have to choose between keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table and caring for their health and the health of their families. Public outcry is strong and change is imminent. Let’ s hope that this wave of change will extend to paid maternity leave so that Mamas on Bedrest will be able to relax and calmly gestate their babies instead of stressing themselves out over whether or not they will be able to stay in their homes, maintain their jobs and their health insurance and be able to pay for the child that is on the way.

Are you a Mama on Bedrest in Denver? We’d love to hear your perspective on the Campaign for a Healthy Denver and Initiative 300. Share your thoughts below. You can also tweet us on Twitter @mamasonbedrest or post your comments on our Facebook page.

Mamas on Bedrest: How Healthy Is Your Home?

March 30th, 2011

I am still reeling from the shocking near death experience of little Oliver Gibson. It is every parent’s nightmare to think that their home could be a toxic environment for their children. And while most families take precautions with their pets when they are bringing baby home, (When I was having my children, I had an indoor cat and both she and I had to be tested for Toxoplasmosis, a parasite commonly found in cat feces. Adults with competent immune systems generally ward off Toxoplasmosis quite well. Infants with congenital toxoplasmosis may have permanent disability, such as blindness or learning disorders. In individuals with compromised immune systems, toxoplasmosis can be deadly.) who would have thought that pet turtles, housed in an aquarium in another room in the house, could pose such a deadly threat as infant botulism?

The Gibson story is a very somber reminder that toxins can exist everywhere and we parents have to be ever vigilant about what comes in and around our children and our homes. I cite this story to in no way point a finger of blame. The Gibsons, like all of us, did the best they could with the information with which they had to work. Even federal authorities in both the United Kingdom and other countries were equally baffled. It just goes to show how difficult it can be to know what is potentially harmful.

So I was really excited to receive a copy of  The Healthy Home by Dr. Myron Wentz and his son David Wentz. Dr. Wentz is a microbiologist and immunologist who developed the first commercially available diagnostic test for the Epstein-Barr Virus.  He has dedicated his life to studying first what makes us sick and now in his later years, what can make us well. He has taken his years of scientific expertise and compiled a small “handbook” in The Healthy Home of potentially harmful substances around the home.

This topic has really gotten my attention, so I am going to read the book, divided by rooms of the house, and blog about each section.  I am also going to gift 5 copies of the book, one for each room of the house (Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, Living areas, Garage and Yard) to readers who posts interesting comments to my blog posts and complete a 30 Minute Complimentary Bedrest Breakthrough Session.

The story of little Oliver Gibson really blew me away, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Oliver’s mama, Kris (Our Mama on Bedrest in Ireland) told me that because of Oliver’s case, authorities in the UK were able to finally solve another case of infant botulism in which there was no readily available cause. That infant had also been exposed to the particular kind of turtle Oliver had been exposed to and had also made a full recovery. So while devastating, Oliver’s ordeal has provided scientists around the world with new information.

I hope to raise awareness of potential dangers in the home with these blog posts based on The Healthy Home. For some of us, this will likely be a mind-blowing read. For others, it will be confirmation that what you are already doing is the best possible thing. In any event, knowledge is power and my goal is to empower every mama on bedrest-and beyond-to do the best possible for herself, her baby and her family. So watch for the blog posts and even if you don’t win one of the books, sign up for a 30 Minute Complimentary Bedrest Breakthrough Session Today!