PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – City Council today gave final approval to a bill calling for mandatory earned sick leave for certain employees, although the number of businesses affected is much smaller than under an earlier proposal.
This bill, approved by a 15-2 vote, applies only to companies that win large contracts with the city. The earlier sick leave plan, which covered all businesses in the city, was vetoed by the mayor and supporters failed to muster enough votes for an override (see previous stories).
The leading advocate for mandatory sick leave, Marianne Bellesorte of Pathways PA, was thrilled with this vote.
“This is a really good way to open the door for the city to take a look at the policy a little bit further,” she told KYW Newsradio.
Councilman Bill Greenlee is hopeful that this scaled-down measure will survive the expected second veto.
“If the mayor vetoes it — and it seems like that’s where they’re going — I think there are the votes to override,” he told KYW Newsradio after the vote.
The measure covers for-profit firms that earn more than $1 million a year and have contracts with City Hall of more than $10,000 a year.
Speaking in opposition to the sick leave bill was Joe Mahoney of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
“This bill puts Philadelphia at a disadvantage with surrounding counties, who do not require employers to provide paid sick days,” he said.
But Councilman Wilson Goode, author of the scaled-down sick leave plan, told his colleagues the vote is not simply deciding between workers and businesses:
“That’s a false choice being given by the Chamber of Commerce and those who want to suck up to them. If you want to choose, choose the people.”
Aides to the mayor say the extra costs facing those firms would be passed on in the cost of city contracts.
Reported by KYW City Hall bureau chief Mike Dunn