Philadelphia’s earned paid sick leave ordinance goes into effect today. That means that if you work more than 40 hours per year in the city of Philadelphia, you qualify to earn paid or unpaid sick time to care for yourself or a family member. The law also makes sure that your boss can’t retaliate against you if you use your right to take a sick day.
This victory is a sterling example of what we can accomplish when we all work together. As Ellen Bravo of Family Values at Work wrote, “[Passing paid sick leave in Philadelphia had] everything to do with smart organizing, grit, and a transformed political landscape.”
In particular, we applaud the tireless advocacy of Marianne Bellesorte of PathwaysPA for her leadership on the issue.
When Women’s Law Project staff attorney Amal Bass testified for paid sick days in front of City Council, she specifically addressed the impact of the lack of earned paid sick leave on working women.
From our testimony:
At the WLP, a large portion of our work involves efforts to improve the health, safety, and economic security of women. We have seen how the absence of paid leave exacerbates the work-family imbalance that women bear disproportionately as the primary caregivers of their families.
A paid leave ordinance like the one we are discussing today would alleviate many of the burdens on these caregivers. It would protect the health of women and their families, address public health concerns, and promote efficiency and stability for the city’s businesses.
Women are disproportionately the primary caregivers in modern families and increasingly, the primary breadwinners, too. In a recent survey, 47 percent of women who stayed home to care for a sick child reported losing pay, a particularly difficult burden in tough economic times. Some workers lose their jobs. This new law will help all Philadelphians, and especially working mothers.
Meanwhile, as you may have heard, some lawmakers in the Pennsylvania Legislature have introduced a pre-emption bill with a retroactive amendment in an attempt to strip Philadelphia of this progress, and ensure no other Pennsylvanians earn paid sick time.
To learn more about how paid sick time works, check out this flyer. The City of Philadelphia is responsible for regulating and enforcing this law, and will make final decisions on its interpretation. To contact the city, email firstname.lastname@example.org.