Showdown over sick days in Philly

March 1, 2011 3:55:59 PM PST
A showdown over whether businesses should pay for employee sick days made its way to Philadelphia City Council today.

Supporters of a bill to require paid sick leave rallied ahead of the committee hearing.

They held signs and many wore face masks saying food service workers like chefs and waiters should not be forced to choose their health over their wallet and that parents need time off to take care of sick children.

The business community says the cost of implementing the legislation is too expensive.

"Although, we think the idea is well-intentioned, we think, particularly, with such a high unemployment rate in the city of Philadelphia, close to 11% real unemployment rate, and the cost to implement this measure is not the right policy and not the right time," Rob Wonderling of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce said.

The mayor's administration agrees and testified against the current bill, concerned about the impact on job creation.

Councilman William Greenlee defended the bill he sponsors.

"Let me just make real clear, none of us, nobody, wants to see businesses closed in Philadelphia; we all understand the burden of running businesses and we understand there's bad economic conditions for businesses, but there's bad economic conditions for workers, too," Councilman Greenlee said.

A reported 210,000 Philadelphians do not have paid sick days.