Paid Sick Leave Veto Override Falls 1 Vote Short

Council unable to come up with the needed votes to override Mayor Nutter's veto

The so-called Paid Sick Leave Bill is officially dead.

The bill’s sponsor Councilman At-Large Bill Greenlee told that he addressed City Council this morning to let them know that they remained one vote short of overriding Mayor Michael Nutter’s veto of the “Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces” ordinance.

The action, or lack of re-vote, ended the journey for Council Bill 130004.

The Bill calls for workers to earn paid sick leave. The measure wouldn't have affected companies with five or fewer employees but employers with six to 19 workers would have had to offer up to four paid sick days a year and up to seven days for larger employers.

The bill passed by a vote of 11 to 6 last month but was vetoed by Nutter last week. Greenlee would have needed to sway one of the six nay votes -- Councilmembers Bill Green, James Kenney, Dennis O’Brien, Brian O’Neill, David Oh and Mark Squilla -- to the yea side to override the mayor’s veto.

“One vote short… it’s disappointing,” said Greenlee. “We were so close.”

Nutter vetoed the bill claiming, in a letter dated April 3 that was obtained by NBC10’s Daralene Jones, that the measure “would harm our ability to attract new businesses."

Greenlee called the veto a "disappointment" for approximately 180,000 workers -- many of them earning modest wages -- that would have benefited from enforced paid sick leave.

“This Administration claims to be about fairness for the little people and good public health for all,” Greenlee said after the veto. “The smoking ban it instituted to protect workers and the public is a great example of that. Allowing workers to take care of themselves or a sick child without losing the ability to pay rent is also consistent with the Administration’s stated goals," he said.

Greenlee tells that many cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. have already passed sick leave measures. One day he believes the measure will be law in Philly.

“Unfortunately we’re not on the forefront again,” he said.

Nutter has long opposed imposing paid sick leave on employers. Back in 2011, he also shot down a similar measure that would have required businesses with five or more employees to provide paid sick days. That measure never got to the 12 votes need to override the veto.

Government-imposed sick leave remains a controversial topic around the country as federal attempts to do so often fall short and some states, including Florida and Michigan, have organized efforts to restrict municipalities’ ability to impose paid sick leave.

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