The bill introduced by Councilmember Brooks reinstates two weeks’ worth of emergency sick leave for thousands of workers who continue to physically report to their jobs.
March 18th, 2021: Kendra Brooks, Philadelphia’s only WFP City Councilmember At-Large has just reinstated her Paid Sick Leave Bill.
The bill applies to businesses that employ over 50 employees and could be used by workers to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19, care for a sick family member, or stay home with a child whose daycare or school has closed as a result of COVID-19. The legislation builds off a 2020 Public Health Emergency Leave bill, also introduced by Councilmember Brooks, which was passed last September and provided thousands of essential workers with paid sick leave benefits who were excluded from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.’
The majority of workers in Philadelphia who have continued to physically report to their jobs through the pandemic are making low and working-class wages. Low-wage workers are less likely to have access to paid sick leave or to be able to afford a missed paycheck. Further, a disproportionate number of essential workers are people of color, contributing to the racial disparity of COVID-19 in Philadelphia, in which Black persons are more than twice as likely as white individuals to contract the virus, according to Department of Public Health data.
“Our workers were left in the cold during the winter months, and they cannot wait any longer for protections,” said Councilmember Brooks. “With schools, stadiums, and other businesses reopening, emergency paid sick leave is a necessity not only for workers, but for the Philadelphia public. Our low-wage workers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic for nearly a year, and the least we can do for them to provide the protections they need to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe.”