Kenney signs two bills to help Philly’s low wage workers

Mayor Kenney signs bills at City Hall (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Mayor Kenney signs bills at City Hall (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has signed a bill that will give people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder more predictable hours.

A second bill will grant a “living wage” to city workers.

The Fair Workweek legislation will require certain larger businesses to give advance notice of schedule changes and pay a penalty when they are changed without ten days notice. The law applies to businesses with 250 employees and more than 30 locations. Those who designed the bill say it will affect 130,000 employees in Philadelphia – most of them part-time chain retail and fast-food workers.

Backers say it is a pathway to stability and a chance for prosperity for everyone. Critics, including hotel owners and managers say they are forced to change schedules by business demands.

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Mayor Kenney said that along with setting a $15 dollar minimum wage for city workers and those working under city contracts will help send a message to all businesses.

“We’re looking forward to the day when the state will allow us to raise the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour for every Philadelphia worker, every Pennsylvania worker,” Kenneys said.

Rev. Gregory Holston, executive director of the group POWER said the new laws will help people earn their way out of poverty. It’s something his organization is hoping will happen statewide.

“We are doing the same thing similar to this across the state to push that message,” Holston said.

The workweek legislation doesn’t take effect until 2020. The living wage will get phased in over a period of years.

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