On February 12, 2015, the Philadelphia City Council voted to guarantee paid sick time for workers in the city to care for personal or family health needs. After vetoing previous paid sick time bills twice before (as described below), Mayor Nutter finally signed the paid sick time bill into law that same day!
The successful City Council vote was welcome news for the more than 200,000 workers in Philadelphia who lack paid sick time.
A Better Balance has supported Philadelphia advocates from the beginning, working with the City Attorney to ensure that Philadelphia had the power to pass this law, drafting the legislation (multiple times!), testifying at City Council hearings, and serving as legal counsel for the campaign.
The amazing Philadelphia paid sick days coalition, more than 120 groups led by the phenomenal Marianne Bellesorte of Pathways PA, never gave up. Nor did Council Member Greenlee, who sponsored the bill and fought for it over the past few years.
On June 16, 2011, the Philadelphia City Council voted to guarantee paid sick time for workers in the city. Unfortunately, on June 28, 2011, Mayor Nutter vetoed the Philadelphia paid sick time bill. Despite the Mayor’s veto, paid sick time legislation maintained tremendous support throughout Philadelphia, with more than 70% of Philadelphia voters in support of the paid sick time bill.
In 2012 and 2013, the City Council again passed a paid sick time bill. Unfortunately, the mayor again vetoed the paid sick time bill, and advocates were one City Council vote shy of an override. The Philadelphia Coalition was undeterred and worked toward a veto-proof majority of the City Council.
In 2014, Mayor Nutter convened a task force to examine the issue of paid sick time in Philadelphia. The Task Force’s formal report to the Mayor recommended passage of a paid sick time law, stating that it would “make a significant and honorable contribution to our quality of life. . . .” This positive report led the Mayor to support the 2015 paid sick ordinance, which was passed by a veto-proof majority of the City Council.
Under Philadelphia’s paid sick time law, workers in businesses with 10 or more employees will be able to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time a year for personal or family health issues (see our paid sick time chart for more detailed coverage information). Workers in smaller businesses will be able to earn and use up to 40 hours of job-protected unpaid sick time a year.
Under the law, workers can use sick time to recover from their own illness or to care for sick family members. The law covers an employee’s child, spouse, life partner, parent, parent-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, spouse of a grandparent, sibling, and spouse of a sibling. Sick time can also be used to address the effects of domestic violence on the employee or the employee’s family member.
The law takes effect on May 13, 2015.