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Councilman Greenlee Wants To Reopen Paid Sick Leave Debate

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As City Council opens its 2013 session this morning, the lawmakers will find an old controversy is back. They’ll take up the question of whether businesses should be required to offer earned sick leave to their workers.

Councilman-at-large Bill Greenlee tried without success to get a mandatory paid sick leave measure passed in 2011. But in the face of opposition from business leaders and the Nutter Administration, Greenlee could not secure the 12 votes needed to override Nutter’s veto.

Today, though, Greenlee is re-introducing the measure, and he says the timing is right.

“The whole issue of the flu epidemic that’s been around is going to make even people who had serious concerns about this bill (in 2011) be more supportive of it. Because the places where flu can be spread the most — restaurants, health care facilities, the hospitality industry — is where most people don’t have paid sick leave.”

Greenlee’s measure would require one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Business owners believe mandatory sick leave would cost jobs. Greenlee and supporters of the idea say mandatory sick leave is only fair since most better-paying jobs already offer it.

The councilman believes this time he would have the votes to withstand a second veto.

“We have a different city council here. We have six new members.”

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