Philadelphia Requires Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave

November 2, 2011 ( - The Philadelphia City Council has passed an ordinance that will require employers in the city to provide employees with paid sick leave.  

The ordinance, which is effective July 1, 2012, became law without Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s signature, with an approval by the council in a 15-2 vote. Mayor Nutter had previously vetoed a similar bill earlier in June 2011 (see No Paid Sick Leave Mandate in Philadelphia).

According to the law offices of Morgan Lewis, the new ordinance amends Philadelphia’s 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefits Ordinance, Chapter 17-300 of the Philadelphia Code (21st Century Ordinance), which requires certain employers to pay employees at least 150% of the federal minimum wage and provide certain health care benefits. The 21st Century Ordinance, and by extension the new sick leave ordinance, applies to the following group of employers:

•  The City of Philadelphia, including all its agencies, departments, and offices;
•  For-profit Service Contractors (as defined in the 21st Century Ordinance) that receive or are subcontractors on contract(s) with the city for $10,000 or more of goods/services in a 12-month period, with annual gross receipts of more than $1 million;
•  Nonprofit Service Contractors that receive or are subcontractors on contract(s) from the city for $100,000 or more of goods/services in a 12-month period;
•  Recipients of city leases, concessions, or franchises, or subcontractors thereof, that employ more than 25 employees;
•  City financial aid recipients, for which compliance is required for a period of five years following receipt of aid; and
•  Public agencies that receive contract(s) from the city for $10,000 or more of goods/services in a 12-month period. 

The new sick leave ordinance incorporates the provisions of the vetoed paid sick leave bill, providing that covered employers must "provide to each full-time, non-temporary, non-seasonal covered employee at least the number of earned sick leave days that the employer would have been required to provide to such employees if the provisions of Bill No. 080474-AA, as passed by Council on June 16, 2011, had been enacted into law." Thus, the limited number of employers covered by the new law will be required to provide employees with at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 32 hours per year for businesses with more than five but fewer than 11 employees and up to 56 hours per year for employers with 11 employees or more.

Seattle and the State of Connecticut have established similar laws (see Seattle City Council Mandates Paid Sick Leave For Workers and CT Mandates Paid Sick Leave for Service Workers).