By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A task force studying the controversial idea of mandatory paid sick leave in Philadelphia is due to send its recommendations to Mayor Nutter by December 1st.

In the meantime, advocates for workers and local businesses continue to be split on the idea.

The Mayor’s Task Force on Paid Sick Leave gathered public comment this past week on its draft report, and the members got an earful from both sides of the issue.

Rob Zuritsky of the Parkway Corporation spoke for the Philadelphia Parking Association, made up of off-street parking companies that are opposed.

“We as an association are not opposed to paid sick leave, as many of our members currently offer that benefit to their employees.  But we are opposed to the city mandating it,” Zuritzsky said.

He told the task force that if paid sick leave were enacted in Philadelphia, it would add to the list of taxes and regulations that drive businesses out of the city.

“We have a Berlin Wall of anti-business attitude that we have to knock down.”

Among those speaking in support of paid sick leave was Ellen Bravo of the group “Pennsylvania Family Values @ Work,” who said that working parents without paid sick leave often risk their jobs to deal with medical issues.

“We tell people be a good parent, follow doctor’s orders.  And yet for doing that, in this country, it can be really hard to stay employed, to advance, to build assets, to pay your bills,” she said.

And Bravo insisted that paid sick leave is actually a pro-business policy, as it ensures a healthier workforce.

“A lot of businesses come to us because they’re already offering paid sick days, because they see it as the smart as well as the right thing to do.  Because it boosts the bottom line, it boosts employee retention.  This is a jobs issue, both for employers as well as workers and their families,” she testified.

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