Thursday, January 20, 2011

FAQs: Philadelphia Earned Sick Time Bill

In Philadelphia over 40% of workers do not have the ability to earn any paid sick days.  Currently there is a bill in City Council, the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces (Bill No. 080474), which would provide workers in Philadelphia with a minimum number of paid sick days that they earn.  Below is some information about the bill in the form of some frequently asked questions.

Once you know about the bill, please contact your members of City Council and urge them to suppport this important piece of legislation.

What does this bill cover?

In Philadelphia, 41% of all workers have no access to earned sick days. Under this bill, workers would have the opportunity to earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 72 hours in a calendar year (unless the employer selects a higher limit). Worker in small businesses (10 or fewer employees) can accrue up to 40 hours per year unless the employer selects a higher limit.

Who is covered under this bill?

All regular workers (part-time and full-time) in Philadelphia are covered under this bill. Independent contractors are not covered by this legislation.

What businesses are considered “small businesses”?

A small business has ten or fewer workers. Employees of small businesses will only accrue 40 hours of earned sick time each year unless their employer selects a higher amount.

Are part-time workers treated differently than full-time workers?

Both part-time and full-time workers are eligible to earn sick time under this bill, and their time will accrue at the same rate (1 hour for every 30 hours worked). However, since part-time employees work fewer hours than full-time employees, they will accrue less total time each year.

When can workers begin using their earned sick days?

Workers may begin using their earned sick days after 30 calendar days of employment.

What if an employer already offers paid sick time or any type of paid time off (PTO)?

Employers that already offer an equivalent or greater amount of paid time off will not need to change their policies, as long as the paid time off they offer can be used as sick time (that is, if the employee can call out sick without prior notice).

Will earned sick days “roll over”? Will employers need to pay workers for unused days?

Under this bill, earned sick time can carry over to the following year, but the total amount of earned sick time does not need to exceed 72 hours per employee (or 40 hours per small business employee). Employers do not have to pay workers for unused days at the time of their departure from the business.

What restrictions are placed on workers regarding earned sick days?

Workers may only earn 72 hours of paid sick time per year (40 hours per year in small businesses) unless an employer chooses a higher limit. Workers must make a good faith effort to give notice of sick time when leave is foreseeable. Employers may require reasonable documentation for more than three consecutive days of sick time.

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