October 29, 2020
 
TO:                ALL MEMBERS OF THE PHILADELPHIA,
NORRISTOWN, DELAWARE, S&C, AND LINE DIVISIONS
 
FROM:          AARON R. KELLEY,
                      GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COORDINATOR
 
RE:               PHILADELPHIA PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY SICK LEAVE
 
Background:
 
All employers with fewer than 500 employees must offer paid sick leave for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 according to the federal  "Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)". Employers with 500 or more employees are exempt from the FFCRA.
 
However, the City of Philadelphia requires most employers with more than 500 employees to offer those employees working in the City paid "Public Health Emergency (PHE)" leave under Philadelphia Bill No. 200303. This leave is similar to that required by the FFCRA.
 
Qualifying Reasons for PHE Leave:
 
If you have 500+ employees, those performing work in Philadelphia "for at least 40 hours in a year" may request PHE leave under the following qualifying circumstances:
 
(a)   being subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to the public health emergency;

(b)  being advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to the public health emergency;

(c)   experiencing symptoms related to the public health emergency and seeking a medical diagnosis;

(d)  caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subsection (a) or has been advised as described in subsection (b);

(e)   caring for a child of such covered individual if the school or place of care of the child has been closed, or the childcare provider of such child is unavailable, due to precautions taken in accordance with the public health emergency response;

(f)   experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the United States Secretary of the Treasury and the United States Secretary of Labor.
 
A note is not required for employees to take PHE leave; employers may only require the submission of a self-certified statement that leave is being taken for a qualifying reason.
 
Amount of Leave & Rate of Pay:
 
Employees working 40 hours or more per week may take the greater of 80 hours, or the average hours worked over a 14-day period up to a maximum of 112 hours, of PHE leave.
 
Employees working fewer than 40 hours per week may take PHE leave "in an amount equal to the amount of wages or other compensation ... received on average in a 14-day period"
 
Employees taking PHE leave must be compensated at their "regular rate of pay", including "the same benefits" employees would normally earn from their employer.
 
Reimbursement:
 
Unlike FFCRA leave, employers will not be compensated by the government for PHE leave.
 
Sunset Date:
 
Like FFCRA leave, PHE leave may be taken until December 31, 2020. However, the law's covered period may be extended by the passage of future legislation.
 
Useful Resources:
 
Below are other resources to help you understand Philadelphia's leave law: 
  1. Employee Notification Poster (Employers Must Post)
  2. Sick Leave Benefits and Scenarios Guide
  3. Philadelphia COVID-19 Sick Leave Webpage
Please also review the full PHE Leave ordinance to ensure complete legal compliance. If you have any questions, please contact me at 267-872-5890 or akelley@neca-pdj.org.
 
Very Respectfully,
 
ARK

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Phone: 610-275-0909
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