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Philadelphia Mayor Strikes Down Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Bill

  • April 5, 2013

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter has vetoed legislation that would require local employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. 

The “Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces” ordinance was approved by the City Council in March 2013 with an 11-6 vote, 1 vote shy of the 12 votes to override mayoral veto. While the ordinance would not have affected companies with 5 or fewer employees, it would have required employers with 6 to 19 workers to offer their employees up to 4 paid sick days a year. Employers with more employees would have had to offer up to 7 paid sick days a year.

As he vetoed the bill on April 3, 2013, Mayor Nutter explained, “The burden businesses would face in meeting the requirements of this bill would deter job creation and decrease the competitiveness of our city at a time when we can ill afford it.” The Mayor continued, “At this time the most important goal of my administration is to promote an economic environment that fosters job creation, allowing Philadelphians to sustain themselves and their families. Therefore, we cannot support passage of a measure that we believe puts current jobs at risk and creates new obstacles preventing employers from creating employment opportunities in Philadelphia.”

Mayor Nutter has long opposed imposing paid sick leave on employers. In 2011, he struck down a similar measure that would have required businesses with at least 5 employees to provide paid sick days. That measure never garnered the 12 votes needed to override the veto.

In a press release, bill sponsor Councilman-at-Large Bill Greenlee called the veto a “disappointment,” asserting that it puts earned sick leave out of reach of 180,000 hardworking Philadelphia residents and their families. Greenlee said he would continue to have productive conversations with council colleagues who have reservations about the bill. To override Mayor Nutter's veto, Greenlee must now get 1 of the 6 council members who voted against the bill to change sides on the issue. 

In recent years, legislation requiring employers to provide paid sick leave has been adopted by the cities of Seattle and Portland. Portland’s law goes into effect January 1, 2014. (See our articles, Seattle Ordinance Requires Businesses to Provide Paid Sick and Safe Days to Workers, and Portland, Oregon, Mandates Employer-Provided Sick Leave.)

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