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Nutter Expected To Veto Paid Sick Leave Bill

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(Mayor Michael Nutter.  File photo by Mike Dunn)

(Mayor Michael Nutter. File photo by Mike Dunn)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Nutter today is expected to deliver his veto of a bill requiring that all Philadelphia businesses offer paid sick leave. Supporters on City Council have until next week to decide whether to attempt an override.

The prime sponsor of mandatory sick leave, Councilman Bill Greenlee, is one vote short of the 12 votes he would need to override the expected veto from Mayor Nutter.

“I’m still working on making sure we have the 12 votes. We had 11 last time, so obviously we need one more.”

Getting to 12 votes won’t be easy, in the face of intense lobbying against mandatory sick leave by business owners.

Joe Grace is policy director for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

“We continue to oppose the legislation. We think it renders Philadelphia less competitive.”

Greenlee says his own attempts to find the extra vote do not involve deal-making.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of ‘political horse trading’. We’re talking about the issue, because it is an important issue.”

But Greenlee understands that the Chamber of Commerce is, in its lobbying, arguing that smaller businesses would be hurt by mandatory sick leave.

“I understand the Council people are listening to that. We are trying to counter that with what we think are the facts that have been seen (with mandatory sick leave laws) in other cities, and the facts that will happen here.”

The Chamber’s Joe Grace was asked if he’s optimistic that an override will not be successful.

“I never want to make that prediction. We will continue to oppose to it and we’ll see what City Council decides to do.”

Greenlee can attempt an override either this week or next, so he and the Chamber have time for more arm-twisting. The measure would require local firms to offer one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Firms with between six and 20 workers would have to offer up to four sick days per year.

Larger firms would have to offer up to seven earned sick days per year. Businesses with fewer than six workers would be exempt. In addition, the victims of domestic abuse could use the sick days for other personal matters, such as meeting with an attorney. The mayor vetoed a similar measure two years ago, and Greenlee lacked the votes to override then.

Nutter and the Chamber say mandatory sick leave would pose an economic hardship on struggling businesses. Greenlee and other supporters say it’s a health issue, since sick workers get other workers sick.

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