Nutter says no to sick-leave bill

Posted: June 29, 2011

Just as expected, Mayor Nutter yesterday smacked down a bill that would require most city employers to provide paid sick leave.

The bill, introduced in 2008 by City Councilmen Bill Greenlee and Darrell Clarke, barely made it out of Council nearly two weeks ago with a 9-8 vote.

It remains unclear whether Council can pull the necessary 12 votes to override Nutter's veto. A vote to override cannot be made until Council's next session on Sept. 8.

Nutter made the announcement inside the Chamber of Commerce, where he said that the bill would put city businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

"[The bill] would put thousands of jobs at risk and discourage businesses from coming to the city," Nutter said.

"I do not believe that this is the time or the place for this piece of legislation, and certainly during this recession. "

Nutter said that although the legislation was "laudable," it may be best suited at the state or national level.

"It is truly the hand of government reaching into the operations of business here in the city of Philadelphia," Nutter said. "We need less of that kind of activity, not more."

Under the legislation, businesses with 11 or more employees would have to allow workers to earn up to seven sick days a year. Companies with 10 or fewer workers would have to offer four sick days.

"Mom and pop" stores with five or fewer workers were excluded from the bill after small-business owners complained that it would be financially disastrous.

"These people who are the most vulnerable, low-salary employees will have to make a decision of whether to come into work sick or take a day off without pay to care for a sick child . . . this is where we are under the mayor's decision," Clarke said.

"The notion that this bill is a gift to employees who may abuse it is not the case."

Members of the Chamber of Commerce said that the bill would have a chilling effect on the preservation and creation of jobs in the city and not-for-profit organizations.

"What this is doing is saying that the local government, in this case City Council, should mandate an HR policy, a human-resource policy, in such a way to anticipate illness," said Rob Wonderling, president of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

"This isn't the 1970s," he said.. "This is the 21st century, where I think you'll find, particularly in the for-profit sector, employers willing to accommodate employees that either are in their own right not feeling well and have an illness or one of their family members."

|
|
|
|
|