Greenlee: Paid Sick Leave Will Become Law With or Without Mayor

Councilman says he has the votes to override a veto by Michael Nutter.

Bill Greenlee, photo City Council Flickr | Michael Nutter, photo Jeff Fusco

Bill Greenlee, photo City Council Flickr | Michael Nutter, photo Jeff Fusco

City Councilman Bill Greenlee says his bill requiring Philadelphia businesses to provide paid sick leave to their employees is going to become law, with or without Mayor Nutter.

Greenlee says, if necessary, he has lined up the minimum of 12 votes on Council needed to override a veto by Nutter.

Greenlee’s bill would mandate that businesses with at least 10 employees offer paid sick leave. A task force appointed by Nutter recommended that businesses with 15 or more workers be required to provide it.

“We will override if we have to,” says Greenlee. “We don’t want to have to do an override. We hope the mayor would finally agree that sick leave is something that is needed around the country.”

Nutter told KYW earlier this month he thought a compromise with Greenlee was possible:

“Not a huge difference there. Both of us have made the commitment that we’ll continue to talk with each other about this and try — before we get to the point of a hearing — certainly our goal is to have some agreement in that regard.”

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald reiterated Thursday that Nutter wants to sign a paid sick leave bill.

“He respects the hard work of the task force and its recommendations, one of which set an employee threshold of 15,” says McDonald. “The task force, which was a balanced group of volunteers, including some who were recommended by Councilman Greenlee, confronted a range of issues.”

Nutter has twice vetoed legislation requiring businesses to offer paid sick leave. Last summer, he reversed course and announced he supported the policy and was creating a task force to study the issue.

Greenlee says he expects his bill to pass out of a Council committee next week and for the full Council to approve it on February 5th.

Under Greenlee’s legislation, workers would earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, for a maximum of five days per year.

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is pushing for Greenlee to amend his bill so it only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees. In an op-ed this week in the Inquirer, the chamber wrote that without an amendment, “some employers may decide that they cannot expand or have to lay off employees to meet this new mandate.”

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