Task Force Recommends Paid Sick Leave for Philly

Proposal "will make a significant and honorable contribution to our quality of life."

Saying it would “make a significant and honorable contribution to our quality of life,” a task force today formally recommended to Mayor Michael Nutter that the city pass a bill requiring Philadelphia employers to offer paid sick leave to workers. (See the report below.)

The recommendation had been expected since Mayor Nutter reversed course over the summer — after vetoing two sick leave bills — and said he would support such a measure, pending a report from a task force on the topic.

“I do not want to put Philadelphia at a competitive disadvantage. However, our city’s economy continues to grow and is stronger than it has been in a long time,” Nutter said in a press release accompanying the task force report. “It was the right time for a comprehensive review of the likely impact of paid sick leave employees, businesses and the entire city.”

The task force recommends:

• That businesses with 15 or more employees be required to offer paid sick leave to employees.

• That businesses with fewer than 15 employees be required to let workers take unpaid sick leave — allowing them to at least recuperate without fear of losing a job, while limiting the financial costs to small-business owners.

• In either case, workers would accrue one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked, and collect up to 40 hours of sick leave during any rolling 12-month period.

A whole list of employees were exempted from the recommendations, including state and federal workers, seasonal workers, employees already covered by collective bargaining agreements, and a few others.

“These recommendations are presented with the full understanding there is no perfect plan and no possibility of unanimity in a city as diverse as Philadelphia,” wrote task force co-chairs Dan Calista and Natalie Levkovich.

Mayor  Nutter did not indicate a timeline for reviewing the recommendation and turning it into law.