Second effort for paid sick leave in Philly

A new City Council year means an old bill will come back for a second go-round. In the midst of a flu epidemic, it may have a healthy chance of passing.

Council passed the bill mandating that business owners provide sick time in 2011, but it was vetoed by Mayor Michael Nutter.

Councilman Bill Greenlee says the timing of the bill’s reintroduction, as people in the region and the country are suffering through a nasty flu strain, may help its chances.

“I’m sorry people are getting sick. But for our purposes, it’s the perfect time for the introduction of this bill,” Greenlee said Wednesday. “Because it shows that places where flu can be spread the most — restaurants, health-care facilities the hospitality industry, hotels and whatever — is where most people don’t have paid sick leave.”

Wearing a shirt and tie, the councilman said those who deal with the public the most are going to work even though they are ill because they can’t afford to take a day off.

“People who are dressed like I am when they go to work, they are going to have paid sick days,” Greenlee said. “But if they wear a waiter’s uniform or a housekeeping uniform, they probably don’t. And those folks interact with the public much more than I do.”

Business groups are against the mandate for sick time, citing the potential for employee abuse.

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