Members of the Philadelphia City Council are set to vote this week on a divisive bill that would require paid sick days for all city employees. The plan would give the workers about an hour of sick pay for every 40 hours they work. Many city workers, especially those in the restaurant industry, support the bill.
“You don’t want sick people serving your food,” said Phil Dillon, a local bartender. “It would be a little comforting to know you didn’t have to worry about it.”
The bill has plenty of detractors however. Several business owners, members of the Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Michael Nutter have all spoken out against the plan. Charlie Collazo, the owner of the Institute Bar and Restaurant, says if the bill is passed, the cost will have to get passed down.
“It’s another added burden and expense,” he said. “All that ultimately happens is that it gets passed down to the consumer. Realistically, businesses just don’t absorb that. It has to come from somewhere.”
Sick pay for workers passed in 2011 but was then vetoed by Mayor Nutter. Advocates for restaurant employees are working hard to see that the sick pay proposal becomes law this time around.
“The time has come,” said Fabrico Rodriguez of the Restaurant Opportunities Center. “People are already going to work sick and getting their co-workers sick and getting customers sick. Those costs are already getting transferred to the dining public who are around folks who can’t take the day off.”
The City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal on Thursday.