City Council reintroduces bill extending paid sick leave to all Philadelphia workers

b7397a2280096519fd8e5f3b47162c87

Councilman Bill Greenlee on Thursday re-introduced the Healthy Families and Workplaces Bill, which would extend paid sick leave to all Philadelphia workers.

“In this economy, we need to make sure that people can afford to stay home when they or a loved one are sick without fear of falling behind on bills or losing their job,” Greenlee said. “No working person in Philadelphia should be forced to choose between their family’s economic security and their family’s health.”

Representatives from about 110 organizations came out to show their support for the bill, which was  co-sponsored by Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilmen Curtis Jones and Wilson Goode, Jr. and Councilwomen Maria Quinones-Sanchez, Cindy Bass and Marian Tasco.

“In the child care field, the restaurant industry and also in the health care field, there are a number of people who don’t have earned sick days,” said Marianne Bellesorte of family advocacy nonprofit PathWays PA. “And they’re also the people who are most likely to come in contact with individuals who are elderly, who are sick, who are young and who are going to be more affected by illness.

Though similar legislation was in 2011 vetoed by Mayor Michael Nutter, who expressed concerns that it would compromise Philadelphia’s competitiveness in attracting employers, some business owners said the opposite.

“My business operates on tight margins, and I’ve found that offering paid sick time to my employees is a policy that boosts my bottom line,” said Lori Davis of Porter’s Childcare in North Philadelphia.

“When one of my employees is sick, I want them to stay home, recover and come back focused and ready to work. Turnover is a huge cost for a business, and training new employees is expensive. My employees stick with me for years, and that helps my business run smoothly.”

Greenlee said he’s confident there’s enough support among Council members for a veto override. “It’s not just a business issue,” he said.

“I’m not trying to knock the business and economic issue, but we’ve also got to consider the health issue here. Health is something a lot of people talk about and I think this is something that is really important to the health not just of the workers, but to the general citizens of Philadelphia.”

Breaking it down

– The bill would allow employees to earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, with a mandatory maximum of 56 paid sick hours in one year.

– Workers at businesses that employ between five and 11 employees would earn a mandatory maximum of 32 hours of paid sick time in a year.

– Businesses with five or fewer employees are exempt from the bill.

– The state of Connecticut and the cities of Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have already passed similar laws.

One man’s story

One restaurant worker from South Philadelphia, who identified himself only as Calvin, discussed the difficulty of choosing between seeking treatment for a health ailment he suffered a year ago and remaining employed.

“Unfortunately, I lost my job,” he said. “Most workers do not make the same choice I made, nor have option to take the day off and are inclined to work sick. In this economy, you can’t ask anyone to risk their job or give up wages.”

“Whether it’s a cold, flu, stomach virus, injury, you name it, people are being forced to choose between keeping food on the table and taking time off. That’s really no choice at all.”

More jobs in jeopardy?

Mayor Michael Nutter in June of 2011 vetoed the bill, leading Council to extend paid sick leave to city-contracted employees only.

Though Nutter said in a letter to City Council that the legislation had a “laudable goal,” he said it would raise the cost of labor in the city, impose burdensome administrative costs on small businesses and render Philadelphia less competitive in the global marketplace when it comes to attracting employers, ultimately costing its citizens work.

“Philadelphians would like jobs with good benefits,” he wrote. “But first and foremost, Philadelphians simply want and need jobs.”

By the numbers

2 out of 5 Philadelphia workers don’t have paid sick leave.

38,600 health care workers in Philadelphia lack paid sick leave.

36,300 Philadelphia restaurant workers lack paid sick leave.

7m Americans were infected by co-workers who went to work sick during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, according to The Center for Disease Control.

92%or more of Philadelphia’s restaurant workers are unable to earn paid sick time, according to an Oct. 2012 report by the Restaurant Opportunities Center.

65%
of Philadelphia restaurant workers admitted to working while sick – 70 percent of them because they couldn’t afford to miss a day’s wages.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Monday is the deadline to register for Pennsylvania…

If residents want to vote in the May primary, which includes a vote for a new City Council member, today is the deadline to register.

National

Miss America thinks school should reconsider discipline of…

A Pa. student was suspended for asking Miss America to prom.

Local

Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.

National

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter died Sunday from prostate cancer…

Former U.S. professional boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent 19 years in prison for murder and then was released after it was determined he did not get a fair trial,…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Books

Poems from prison: 'How to Survive a Bullet…

Celebrate National Poetry Month with, "'How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.