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City Council Wants Philadelphia Businesses To Offer Employees Paid Sick Days

By Dray Clark

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Greenlee is once again trying to get the "Healthy Families and Workplaces" bill passed.

The bill would require businesses to offer their employees earned sick leave.

It's estimated 40-percent of workers in Philadelphia don't have paid sick days. Many of those workers are in the hospitality sector, including hotels and restaurants.

"It's unfair that if you come to work in a suit you're more likely to get paid sick days but if you work in a smock, apron, or uniform, and probably get paid less, you don't have such a right," said Greenlee.

City Council members held hearings Tuesday and they heard testimony regarding why or why not the bill should become city law.

The bill would mean employers with six to 20 employees would have to give workers at least four paid sick days. Large companies would be required to provide seven days. However, critics say the bill has consequences.

"We are worried it has consequences. In a fragile economic environment we don't want to see jobs lost," said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development.

Employers say they'll have a hard time meeting the cost of paying for sick leave. They say some of the cost could be passed on to consumers.

Dave Magrogan owns three restaurants in Philadelphia.

"It's a direct impact to our labor cost so if our labor cost is going up how do we offset that?" said Magrogan.

But others say the bill would have minimal impact on employer's bottom line.

"Paid sick days will reduce their number of cost, will increase productivity, will reduce contagion, and everyone will benefit," said Claudia Williams.

Mayor Nutter vetoed the bill in 2011, but now there are new faces in council and some believe those new faces will provide enough votes to override a second veto.

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