HARRISBURG, May 28 – The Senate and House Democratic policy committees hosted a joint hearing at Philadelphia City Hall to discuss legislation that aims to improve public health and safety by giving workers the opportunity to accrue paid sick leave.

State Sen. Larry Farnese and Rep. Maria Donatucci, both D-Phila., co-chaired the hearing evaluating legislative initiatives in support of implementing mandated paid sick leave and are both opposing efforts, including Senate Bill 333, to overturn Philadelphia’s new paid sick leave law.

“Legislators supporting Senate Bill 333 have argued that a uniform paid sick leave policy across the commonwealth is a better approach,” Farnese said. “If Senate Bill 333 provided for a state-sponsored method to protect workers when they are sick, I would have voted for it with applause and praise for my colleagues’ actions.

“What happened in the Senate is just one in a series of examples of outside influencers being tone deaf to a local, commonsense measure that my constituents want and need.”

Farnese is a cosponsor of Senate Bill 221, the Healthy Employees, Healthy Workplaces Act. The bill, introduced by state Sen. Vincent Hughes, is a complement to Donatucci’s House Bill 624 and would provide sick leave for an employee after 30 days of employment and allow workers to earn one hour of sick leave time for every 30 hours worked. The measure would not obstruct any existing municipal ordinance whose policy is more generous than a statewide policy.

Donatucci’s House Bill 624 would allow workers to accrue paid sick leave at a rate of one hour of leave time for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 52 hours per calendar year. The bill also includes provisions for small businesses.

“Nobody should have to risk losing their job for taking time off to care for themselves or an ill loved one,” Donatucci said. “Since introducing my legislation to enact paid sick leave statewide, I have heard from numerous people saying the bill would help them better take care of their families. It’s long past time to give our workers the benefits they deserve, and I thank my colleagues for their continued support of legislation to do just that.”

Councilman Bill Greenlee, sponsor of the earned paid sick leave law in the City of Philadelphia testified at the hearing in support of statewide efforts to ensure workers earn sick leave.

“Employees who come to work sick present both a public health and economic risk to their employer and the public,” Greenlee said. “In addition to spreading illness, workers who come to work sick are less productive and are estimated to cost their employers twice as much as absenteeism due to illness. I look forward to making this law successful here in Philadelphia and will continue to work with Representative Donatucci to bring an earned paid sick leave law to all the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

Other testifiers included: Marianne Bellesorte, Vice President of Policy, Strategy and Communications at Pathways PA; Angela Owens, home care worker at the United Home Care Workers of PA; and Tateanna Lacey, fast food worker.