Philadelphia has become the seventeenth city in the United States to require that employers provide paid sick leave to their employees. The law, signed by Mayor Michael Nutter on February 12, 2015, applies to Philadelphia businesses with at least 10 employees. Employers who already provide employees with paid leave that meets the minimum paid sick leave accrual standards and other requirements will not have to change their policies or provide additional leave time. The law goes into effect on May 13, 2015, 90 days after signing. 

Under the mandatory paid sick leave law, employees can accrue one hour of time off for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours (or five days). Employees can use their leave time for their personal health needs or the health needs of family members. They also can use the paid leave in response to domestic abuse or to seek counseling or legal services, for example. Employees can begin to use accrued leave after 90 days of employment. 

An employee may request to use sick time either orally or in writing. When possible, the employee must specify the anticipated duration of his or her absence. For absences of more than two days, the employer may ask for documentation to support the reason for the absence from a medical provider, law enforcement official, or another source, depending on the circumstances. The employer cannot require the employee, however, to provide documentation that explains the nature of the employee’s illness or the events underlying the absence.