Is Philly sick-leave bill dead?

Posted: April 05, 2013

The odds look long, but Councilman Bill Greenlee maintained Thursday that he could get the single vote he needs to overturn Mayor Nutter's veto of his paid sick-leave bill.

"I am deeply disappointed in the mayor's decision to keep earned sick leave out of reach for 180,000 hard-working Philadelphians and their families. Many of these people earn modest or low wages. Absent a powerful and moneyed lobbyist, they really need their leaders to step up to the plate for them," Greenlee said.

Greenlee also said he would like to see Philadelphia in the forefront of a national movement promoting paid sick leave. San Francisco requires it, and New York is set to put it into place, despite Mayor Bloomberg's disapproval.

"Eventually, Philadelphia will have it," Greenlee said, because the idea is spreading. He'd like to accomplish that quickly in Philadelphia by overriding Nutter's veto. The bill passed Council by an 11 to 6 vote. Greenlee needs 12 votes for an override. But the six Council members - Jim Kenney, David Oh, Bill Green, Dennis O'Brien, Brian O'Neill and Mark Squilla - who voted against the bill said on Thursday that they would not change their minds.

They said they agreed with Nutter's position that while paying people when they are ill is good policy, it doesn't make sense for Philadelphia to require it when surrounding suburbs don't.

San Francisco and New York have stronger economies than Philadelphia does, Kenney said. Many business owners already view Philadelphia as overregulated and overtaxed, he said. Requiring sick pay would only add to that perception.

"This would be another push out the door," Kenney said.

Marianne Bellesorte, Senior Director of Policy and Media Relations for PathWays PA, a group that advocates for women, children and families, said Nutter was giving in to "narrow corporate interests" and called on Council to override the veto.

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce applauded Nutter's decision.

"The mayor said the proposed law would make our city less competitive with surrounding areas, and do nothing to help businesses here create jobs," the group said in a statement. "We agree."

Nutter had vetoed Councilman Bill Greenlee's original version of the bill in 2011.

Contact Staff Writer Miriam Hill at or 215-854-5520. Follow her on Twitter @miriamhill.


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