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Philadelphia moves a big step closer to paid sick leave

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is almost certain to push for paid sick leave after a task force recommended Monday that the benefit be mandated from all businesses employing at least 15 people.

Places with fewer than 15 employees, like small restaurants, should be required to grant unpaid leave, the task force advised.

It recommended that paid sick time would accrue at the rate of one hour per 40 worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid leave per year. Employers would be required to keep records of hours worked and sick time taken for at least two years.

Mayor Nutter released a statement afterward, making the case for paid sick leave but stopping short of an endorsement. He has twice vetoed bills that would mandate the benefit.

“Paid sick leave is a complicated policy question that profoundly impacts employees and employers,” the mayor said in his statement. “I did not support paid sick leave legislation in the past because of the possible significant losses of job opportunities and the overall state of the regional economy.”

However, he added, “I do not want to put Philadelphia at a competitive disadvantage.” A number of major cities in neighboring New Jersey have adapted paid sick leave, and the legislature is considering a statewide mandate.

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