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Nutter Vetoes Earned Sick Leave Legislation

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Mayor Michael Nutter has vetoed a City Council bill that would have required Philadelphia businesses to offer workers paid sick leave.

Council's attempt to override the veto will not come until next week, if at all (see related story).

Mayor Nutter, in his veto message, said mandatory paid sick leave would result in job cuts that would hurt "the very workers this bill is intended to help."  And he said it would hurt the city's ability to attract new businesses.

Joe Mahoney, executive vice president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, agrees.

"(A veto) is the right way to go because (the bill) creates a non-level playing field for Philadelphia.  None of the surrounding counties have benefits like that, nor would they," Mahoney tells KYW Newsradio.

The bill's chief sponsor, Councilman Bill Greenlee, has until next Thursday to convince one of the six councilmembers who voted "no" to change sides.

"I'm still working on getting to 12 votes to make this the law of the City of Philadelphia," Greenlee said today.  "We're not going to run it today (an override attempt), but we're still working and we're still hopeful that we can get it done.  Because -- you've heard me say many times -- I think it's the right thing to do."

One of those who voted no, Councilman Jim Kenney, believes that workers should unionize to get paid sick leave.

"I am strong union supporter.  The union method is the way to get it.  I don't think the government should be mandating (sick leave)," Kenney said.

The measure would have required local firms to offer one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked.  Firms with between six and twenty workers would have to offer up to four sick days per year.  Larger firms would have to offer up to seven earned sick days per year.  Businesses with fewer than six workers would be exempt.

In addition, the victims of domestic abuse could use the sick days for other personal matters, such as meeting with an attorney.

The mayor vetoed a similar measure two years ago, and Greenlee lacked the votes to override then.

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