City Council mulls mandatory paid sick leave

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The paid sick leave debate continued in City Council. (WPVI)

Philadelphia City Council members spent their last session of 2014 talking about a revamped proposal for mandatory paid sick leave for employees.

Laura Richards is a food server at a small restaurant along the tony south 13th Street corridor. Like some 200,000 other Philadelphia workers, she does not get any paid sick days and must choose between her health and no pay. In other cases, some employees might even lose their job.

"We work just as hard if not harder than a lot of people out there. There were a couple days where I worked so many days in a row that I sprained one of my ankles, I really couldn't afford that, I still had to come to work," Richards said.

Another proposed law to force employers in Philadelphia to provide paid sick days for employees was introduced at City Council Thursday.

But once again the city's Chamber of Commerce is crusading against any sick pay requirements.

"The smaller businesses, they're working every day just to get by, turn a profit, yes, but employ people and keep people employed and try to grow their business which is good for our economy," Chamber of Commerce spokesman Joe Grace said.

"We don't think we're hurting businesses. The law has not hurt business in other cities and we have no reason to believe it's going to be any different in Philadelphia," Bill Greenlee of City Council said.

Mayor Michael Nutter now says he wants to enthusiastically sign a sick pay bill, but his handpicked commission put the threshold at 15, so it appears more negotiations and debate are in the offing.

The council plans another round of heated hearings on this issue when they reconvene in late January.
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