Nutter revisits paid sick leave
by Angela Thomas
Jun 26, 2014 | 560 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One year after vetoing LGBT-inclusive legislation that would mandate paid sick leave for local workers, Mayor Michael Nutter is revisiting the concept.

Councilman-at-Large Bill Greenlee introduced the legislation twice — in 2011 and 2013 — both resulting in a veto from Nutter. Earlier this month, Nutter announced he would convene a task force to examine the economic impact of paid sick leave on employees and business, as well as on the city’s overall business climate and public health.

As written, Greenlee’s bill would have required Philadelphia companies with 12 or more employees give one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked; companies with five-11 employees could earn up to 32 hours of paid sick leave. Companies with five or less employees would be exempt from the legislation.

In its original form, the bill would have allowed same-sex partners time off to care for one another — which seemingly would be nullified by Pennsylvania’s recent marriage-equality gain — and also would facilitate time off for transgender people recovering from surgery and for those with HIV/AIDS.

The legislation passed with an 11-6 vote in March 2013 but could not gain enough votes to become veto-proof.

At the time, Nutter said the bill would make it difficult for the city to attract new businesses.

But on June 12, Nutter announced the new investigatory task force, helmed by Health Federation of Philadelphia executive director Natalie Levkovich and Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce vice president Lisa Crutchfield.

The task force will deliver a final report to Nutter and City Council by Dec. 1 with recommendations on how to proceed on the issue.

In a statement, Nutter said paid sick leave is a “complicated policy question that profoundly impacts employees and employers,” necessitating the task force.

“It is critical that we thoroughly evaluate this issue in order to continue to strengthen our business climate while ensuring the health and well-being of employees,” Nutter added.

Greenlee told PGN he is optimistic that the mayor is open to conversation about his legislation.

“He said he has noted that other cities have done this and they didn’t fall apart,” the councilman said. “I have been open from the beginning to conversations and this task force will have conversations about this issue and see where it leads. I’d love to have a situation where everybody is onboard.”

Greenlee said he hopes to reintroduce the legislation but is unsure of a specific timeline.

He added that he had conversations with fellow council members on the issue, and said opinions are changing.

“It is an issue that resonates with people, so we will see what happens as time goes on,” Greenlee said.

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