PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia City Council held a lengthy public hearing today on a controversial topic: whether the city should require companies to offer employees earned sick leave (see related story).

The bill was voted out of committee late Tuesday afternoon after both sides, armed with statistics, made their cases.  One advocate supporting the bill testified that workers should not have to choose between their jobs and their own (or their families’) well-being.

One councilman supporting the measure says it would provide a safety net to thousands of Philadelphians who don’t have paid sick days.

But many businesses say they can’t afford it.  Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger says the Nutter administration believes the cost of the legislation to businesses — particularly small businesses — is very high.

“Philadelphians would like jobs with good benefits. But first and foremost, Philadelphians simply want and need jobs,” Greenberger says.

Greenberger says passage of a required sick leave law might force businesses to pass on the increased costs to workers through reduced wages, or to their customers through increased prices.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060.