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Future Of Paid Sick Leave Bill Now In Mayor's Hands

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The ball is now in Mayor Nutter's court on a paid sick leave bill passed yesterday in Philadelphia City Council (see related story), just before the relocation of his budget address in that raucous session.

Two years ago, the vote was 9-8, and the Mayor vetoed a similar bill. There are new faces on Council, and the sponsor of the measure, Councilman Bill Greenlee, wanted those new members to get up to speed on the importance of getting a veto-proof margin.

"Frankly, I held this bill up out of respect for the six new members, because there was alot going on last year. I wanted to get the information out."

Council voted 11-6 for the measure, but a two-thirds majority, or 12 votes, will be needed to override another expected veto from the Mayor.

Councilman Bill Green was among the 'no' votes, fearing a measure requiring businesses to provide earned sick days - up to seven per year for larger companies, and up to four for firms with between six and 20 workers - would kill jobs.

"We need to create a regulatory environment that is good for business. I'll be voting 'no' and I'll ask my colleagues to do the same."

But, Councilman Greenlee says it shouldn't be a choice between jobs and giving fair benefits.

"We're saying, and other cities have shown, that you could do both."

Michael Cockrell is a cook who needed medical treatment some years ago, but the kitchen manager said they were too busy. "If I would have left, I could have been fired."

The Prime Rib restaurant's Garth Weldon says the economy is too shaky. "This is white-knuckle time in business. Not paid sick leave time."

Rob Wonderling of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce says it's 'well intentioned,' but something the state and federal governments should take up.

"With such a high unemployment rate in this city, this legislation will not create one single job."

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