After a few failed attempts, Philadelphia has become part of the paid sick leave mega-trend. The Mayor signed the “Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces” Ordinance on February 12.  It goes into effect 90 days after the signing.

With the proliferation of PSL laws and more on the way, and with most of them using the same basic structure for the leave benefit, it seemed appropriate to develop some PSL shorthand to describe and compare the PSL benefits efficiently.

A typical accrual formula has three variables:  an employee accrues 1 hour of PSL for each X hours worked, to a maximum of Y hours per year, with the right to carry over up to Z hours. Some laws give the employer the option to avoid carrying over time by front-loading the annual sick time allotment at the beginning of the calendar year.  Of course, all of these laws have provisions beyond the accrual formula but the PSL formula is their essence.

Describing the Philly ordinance with this shorthand, eligible employees working for a covered employer will have a 1/40/40/40F accrual formula, i.e., they will accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked in Philadelphia, to a maximum of 40 hours per calendar year, with the right to carryover up to 40 hours into the next calendar year unless the employer elects to “front-load (F)” 40 hours at the beginning of the year.  (The recently-enacted Tacoma Ordinance, which we posted about here, is a 1/40/24/40 law. The “F” is missing because the Ordinance does not offer employers a front-loading option)).

The Ordinance requires employers of at least 10 employees to provide paid sick leave; smaller employers must provide unpaid sick leave. Employees begin to accrue leave on the first day of employment and can use the accrued time beginning the 90th day of employment. Paid sick time can be used for the usual list of reasons: employee or family member’s illness, injury or health condition; domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking. Employees not covered by the Ordinance include all employees covered by a bona fide labor contract and “pool” employees, defined as “any health care professional, other than an employee of a temporary placement agency, who works only when he or she indicates that he or she is available for work and who has no obligation to work when he or she does not indicate availability.”