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

How Daysean Brock's story of being beaten and…

An outlandish story of blatant drug use inside police headquarters and beatings by several officers, told by a man charged with murder, was deemed not believable by a Philadelphia judge…

Local

Masked men robbed armored car in Mayfair, police…

Two masked men made off with more than $100,000 this morning after an armored car heist in Northeast Philadelphia, police said.

Local

Teen in 'Jihad Jane' terror case to be…

A judge on Thursday is set to sentence a high school student who pleaded guilty to helping al Qaeda and working with the woman known as "Jihad Jane."

International

Putin fields question from NSA fugitive Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of intelligence eavesdropping, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin a question on Thursday during…

Television

Way to go, guys: 'Game of Thrones' broke…

Proving that not everyone has parents who subscribe to HBO and are generous with their HBO Go logins, the latest episode of "Game of Thrones"…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

Going Out

Tickets on sale for Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival…

It may be hard to believe but spring weather is finally just about here, which in Philly means festivals every weekend — including the annual…

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.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.

Parenting

Star-studded summer camps

Give your child the star treatment this summer with a celebrity-endorsed camp.

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.