Philadelphia employees have been eligible for additional COVID-19 paid leave for several years now. This law ended on December 31, 2023.
Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Paid Leave
An amendment to Philadelphia’s Promoting Health Families and Workplaces Ordinance (PHFWO) required employers with 25 or more employees to provide additional paid leave for reasons related to COVID-19. Employees were eligible for up to 40 hours of paid sick leave when they were unable to work due to qualifying COVID-19 reasons. This was leave in excess of the required paid sick leave under PHFWO and allowed leave exclusively for:
- Care for self or family member with symptoms of COVID-19
- Care for self or family member exposed to COVID-19 and to self-isolate
- Childcare or school closure
- To receive COVID-19 test, vaccine, or recover from injury, illness, or disability related to vaccination
Employer’s Continuing Obligations Related to COVID-19 Paid Leave
With the sunset of this amendment on December 31, 2023, employers no longer need to provide the additional COVID-19 paid leave. However, there are still requirements under the law with which employers must comply.
- Compliance records must be kept for two years – through December 31, 2025.
- Employers should be aware that employees can report violations of the law within one year of when the violation occurred.
- Employers should remove the Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave poster from their workplace.
Philadelphia’s Regular Paid Sick Leave Requirements
Philadelphia still has paid sick leave requirements, however, and has since 2015. Employers in Philadelphia with 10 or more employees for at least 40 weeks in a calendar year are required to provide paid sick leave to their employees under PHFWO. Employees who work at least 40 hours a year within the city limits of Philadelphia must accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. The annual maximum employees must accrue is 40 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible reasons for paid sick leave under PHFWO include the following:
- Treatment, diagnosis, or preventive care for an employee or family member’s mental or physical illness or condition
- Safe time for an employee or employee’s family member
The majority of COVID-19-related reasons for leave will fall within the eligible reasons for paid sick leave under PHFWO.
Notice and Posting Requirements
Employers must provide notice to covered employees of their paid sick leave rights in the workplace. The notice requirement must also include the employee’s entitlement to paid sick leave, the amount and terms of paid sick leave, and that employees may file a claim or civil action if paid sick leave is denied or if an employee is retaliated against for requesting or taking paid sick leave. This information must also be included in any employee handbook distributed to employees.
An employer may comply with this notice requirement by providing employees with a written notice which includes the above information or by displaying a poster in the workplace in an accessible and conspicuous place.
Employers in Philadelphia should check their practices and policies to make sure they align with the removal of the COVID-19-related paid leave requirement, remove the poster that was required to be displayed specific to COVID-19 paid leave, and ensure they continue to comply with the general paid sick leave requirements under the city’s PHFWO.
Managing the myriad paid sick leave laws across the country is challenging. The laws are increasing in number and complexity. Having access to detailed information on the new and changing paid sick leave laws is key to maintaining compliance with these laws.