Philly restaurants might be spared paid sick leave

The Republican-dominated state Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would invalidate Philadelphia's new mandatory paid sick-leave law.

The bill, which passed by 37-12, would effectively preempt local governments from requiring companies to provide workers with paid sick days. The measure's supporters say it is necessary to have uniform rules across the state for businesses.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. John Eichelberger (R., Blair), called Philadelphia's sick-leave law "a mistake."

Critics of Eichelberger's bill, many from Philadelphia, said it would disproportionately hurt low-income employees, who often work through illness for fear of losing their jobs - and stomps on Philadelphia's right to decide what kind of business climate and practices it wants within its borders.

The bill "denies the City of Philadelphia the right to govern itself," said Sen. Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia, ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
He added, "It allows for a two-class system in our commonwealth. . . . This body stood once again to represent the needs and the issues of those with privilege, and not the needs and the issues of the masses."

The proposal now heads to the House, which is also GOP-controlled. House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said there is support for the concept.

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