Wolf would use veto to keep Philly’s sick-leave law

     Michael Whitehead from Chester County took the day off work, without pay, to join fast food workers protesting in Philadelphia, September 2014. (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

    Michael Whitehead from Chester County took the day off work, without pay, to join fast food workers protesting in Philadelphia, September 2014. (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

    Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday he would veto a state proposal to eradicate local sick-leave laws in Pennsylvania if it reaches his desk.

    The measure, which passed the Republican-controlled state Senate with bipartisan support last week, aims to pre-empt a Philadelphia law requiring businesses with 10 or more employees to give workers an hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.

    Such local policies should remain in place, Wolf said.

    “We ought to allow local municipalities to control their own situation and make their own decisions on that, and I think that’s what Philadelphia’s trying to do,” said Wolf.

    But would he veto the state Senate’s pre-emption bill?

    “Yes,” he said.

    Philadelphia’s paid sick-leave law is set to take effect in mid-May.

    Opponents say businesses shouldn’t have to deal with a patchwork of local labor laws. But supporters say Philadelphia workers need such benefits in the absence of a uniform statewide law requiring paid sick leave.

    The pre-emption bill is before the House, also dominated by the GOP.

    In Philadelphia Thursday, state Sen. Vincent Hughes, a Democrat, held a press event to call on House members to vote down the pre-emption bill and, barring that, for Wolf to veto the proposal.

    “The city should be allowed to govern itself. It went through a five-, six-year process of achieving a sick-leave policy,” Hughes told reporters last week. “Then to have it upended without a serious attempt to have a negotiation around a statewide sick-leave policy … that’s kind of childish behavior.”

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