Wolf Pushing for Mandated Paid Family Leave, Sick Leave in Fall Agenda
Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf is calling on state lawmakers to pass bills that would mandate paid family and sick leave for all Pennsylvania workers.
The Governor is asking the Legislature to move bills already sitting in committee that would provide paid family leave and paid sick leave to Pennsylvanians- which he and others say is an existing issue highlighted by the pandemic.
“Workers, the point is, should not have to choose between their job and their health, especially during this pandemic. It’s time for the Legislature to fix this problem that has been exposed during this pandemic,” says Governor Wolf.
There are several pieces of legislation that have already been introduced. Senate Bill 13, for example would create a mandatory employer-paid sick leave policy.
Under the bill, leave must be paid at the same rate of pay as the employee’s hourly wage, workers can accrue one hour of paid sick leave per 30 hours worked, and employers may limit employees to seven paid sick days per year.
In the House, similar legislation has been introduced through House Bill 169, sponsored by Rep. Maria Donatucci (D- Philadelphia, Delaware).
Both measures are awaiting action in their respective Labor and Industry Committees.
The Governor is also advocating for paid family medical leave.
That’s the topic of Senate Bill 580, which has bipartisan sponsors of Sen. Maria Collett (D- Berks) and Sen. Dan Laughlin (R- Erie).
It would allow employees to take paid time off of work to care for a newborn or sick loved one.
A similar bill has been introduced in the House as well through House Bill 1739.
That has bipartisan co-sponsors too, sponsored by Reps. Wendi Thomas (R- Bucks) and Dan Miller (D- Allegheny). Both HB1739 and SB580 are awaiting action in their respective Labor and Industry Committees.
Wolf is advocating for these actions as part of his fall legislative agenda.
“It’s time for Pennsylvanians to get the benefits they need, and it’s time for the Legislature to put Pennsylvania’s health first and pass paid sick leave,” Gov. Wolf says.
But the House Republican Caucus doesn’t seem to be on the same page. House GOP Spokesman Jason Gottesman says the governor should refocus his priorities.
“Before advocating for paid family leave or paid sick leave as the governor did today, we think it’s best that he work with us instead of against us in trying to reopen Pennsylvania’s economy, get people back to work because if they don’t have jobs, they can’t even have any of these benefits,” says Gottesman. “He needs to be focused on working with us to reopen Pennsylvania’s economy and get people back to work,” Gottesman said.