Pa. Senators look to end Philly’s paid sick leave law

Philadelphia City Councilman William Greenlee's sick leave law could be pre-empted by a bill introduced in Harrisburg. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Councilman William Greenlee's sick leave law could be pre-empted by a bill introduced in Harrisburg. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A group of Pennsylvania state senators want to end a Philadelphia law that requires employers to offer paid sick time.

The city law went into effect in 2015 and requires companies with 10 or more employees to allow workers to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick leave.

State Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair) has a bill that would bar cities and towns from enacting these kinds of laws. In a December memo, Eichelberger and co-sponsor state Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh) said “local mandates such as this create an uneven playing field for the businesses located inside the municipality,” particularly small businesses. 

“As more governments jump on board, businesses with more than one location are forced to comply with a variety of different and changing mandates,” the memo stated.

Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Greenlee disagrees and thinks the state should not be looking to preempt local laws.

“There’s people who at one time could not take any time off if they or their family were sick that are now able to do it and for the state to come in and nullify that seems totally unfair,” said Greenlee, who pushed for the paid sick leave law for six years before it was finally signed by then-Mayor Michael Nutter.

“In that case, you’re not just preventing people from getting future benefits, you’re taking away benefits from people that in paid sick leave they’ve earned now for the last 18 months,” he said.

Greenlee said some 200,000 workers have benefited from the law.

Eichelberger’s bill, Senate bill 128, was reported out of committee on Tuesday.

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