Smaller city contractors could be covered by Philly’s living wage law

Philadelphia demands a “living wage” from larger businesses with city contracts. Now, City Council is considering making even small companies pay the higher wage.

Councilman Wilson Goode says his bill is mostly designed to extend the living wage to small business contractors at Philadelphia International Airport.

“It only applied to those business that had leases, concessions companies with 25 employees,” said Goode. “So now, as long as they have five employees, they are considered covered employees now.”

How the bill defines living wage

The bill mandates a wage of one and a half times the minimum wage. That translates into nearly $11 an hour.

Airport worker Tara Russell gets $6 an hour plus tips to help travelers in wheelchairs.

“Of course I don’t always get tips. The last two weeks, I got nothing,” said Russell. “It shouldn’t come as a surprise I struggle. I don’t make enough to survive.”

Workers such as Russell would also get health insurance since contractors are required to offer coverage in addition to the higher wage.

No employers showed up to testify against the bill before it was approved in committee.

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