May 13, 2015

Philadelphia's Paid Sick Time "Law"

If you are an employee or employer in the city of Philadelphia, you undoubtedly know that today is the day that Philadelphia's newest ordinance (another word for pissing off employers) went into effect today. The Philadelphia Paid Sick Time law is one of many new ordinances that Mayor Nutter's administration has put into place to try and save face with the Philadelphia public and subsequently piss off and make the jobs harder of many employers who are already trying to do the right thing.

For the sake of education and because I like to try and make your life a little easier, I am breaking down the ordinance to it's smallest and easiest parts. If you are so inclined and have nothing better to do, you can read the full 42-page law here. Here is what you need to know to ensure that you are compliant with the new law:

  • Work in the City of Philadelphia
  • Work at least 40 hours per YEAR (not week or month - so basically almost every Philadelphia employee is covered, except as stated below)
  • Independent Contractors
  • Seasonal Workers
  • Adjunct Professors
  • Employees hired for a term of less than 6 months
  • Interns
  • Pool Employees
  • Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement (Unions)
  • State and federal employees
  • Employers with 10 or more employees MUST provide paid sick leave.
  • Employers with 9 or fewer employees must provide UNPAID sick leave.
    • Employees are eligible to earn 1 hour of sick time for every 40 hours they work, up to a maximum of 40 hours earned in a calendar year. 
      • For new employees, accrued sick time my be used after an employee has worked a minimum of 90 days
      • For current employees, accrual begins today (May 13, 2015)
    • Earned sick time can be used for the employee's own health needs, to care for a family member, or for leave due to domestic abuse or sexual assault
  • Employers must notify employees that they are entitled to sick time, the amount of sick time and the terms of its legal use. 
  • Employers that violate the ordinance will be subject to fines, penalties, and restitution. 
Most employers already offer some form of sick leave that is equivalent or better than what the Philadelphia Paid Sick Time Law calls for. Employers that have PTO in lieu of sick time will satisfy the requirements of this law as long as they meet the minimum paid time off days and change any policies they have to reflect that the employee can take the time off for their own health issue or that of a family member. 

In getting my clients up to par with the law, the major changes I have had to recommend are that they change the language to include paid sick time for their family members and to ensure they are communicating the new law via posting the notice is conspicuous places (by the time clock, on a bulletin board, in electronic format (email, intranet, etc), attached to paychecks, etc. Most of my clients either offer sick time of greater that 5 days a year or PTO that far exceeds 5 days a year. 

Employees shouldn't get too excited though. The state Senate recently passed legislation to repeal the bill. The Senate bill would make municipal paid sick leave illegal. The House is expected to pass the Senate's bill, although Governor Wolf could still veto it.  

Here's to anxiously waiting to see how the tide will turn with this one!

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