Harrisburg, PA − March 18, 2019 − Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and Senator Katie Muth (D-Berks/Chester/Montgomery) today introduced Senate Bill 13 aiming to provide mandatory paid sick leave to all Pennsylvania workers.
SB 13 would create the Healthy Employee/Healthy Workplace Act, ensuring all Pennsylvania employees would have access to guaranteed, employer-paid sick leave. At least 400,000 Pennsylvania workers would benefit from paid sick leave, particularly minimum wage and low-income workers in retail, hospitality and other service sectors.
“Paid sick leave empowers workers to take better care of their health which ultimately leads to few absences and higher productivity,” Sen. Muth said. “By investing in the health and wellbeing of our workforce, we are investing in a stronger Pennsylvania.”
SB 13 would allow employees to use paid sick leave for their own care or the care of a family member, including spouse, children and parents. Preventative care and treatment associated with short-term and long-term health issues related to physical illness and mental health would also be covered. This includes diagnosis, treatment, care, counseling or other assistance for physical, mental or emotional injuries the employee or a family member experiences as a result of abuse or sexual violence.
“Getting sick shouldn’t put anyone’s job or finances in jeopardy, but unfortunately thousands of workers across the commonwealth risk because they can’t take time off for doctor’s visits or can’t afford to miss work due to illnesses,” Sen. Hughes said. “Requiring Pennsylvania companies to provide paid sick leave will go a long way improving public health by reducing the number of people working while sick.”
SB 13 is modeled after legislation in California implemented in 2014, and replicated in Philadelphia, which has provided a lifeline to employees. These successful proposals have helped decrease lost workdays by allowing workers to deal with illnesses away from the general public, thus preventing further spread and saving the employer money. Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control found that providing paid sick leave to workers lacking the benefit would decrease the number of workdays lost by the flu and similar illnesses resulting in a cost savings of up to $2 billion nationally.