Philadelphia's City Council passed a measure on Sept. 15, 2020, enacting Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) for employees who work at least 40 hours per year within the city of Philadelphia and who physically report to work. Signed into law by Mayor Jim Kenney on Sept. 17, 2020, the amendment to the Philadelphia Code, entitled "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance" (PHFWO), took effect immediately and will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2020.
PHEL is available to covered employees any time that a public official declares a public health emergency, where the employees need leave because they are:
Under the PHFWO, PHEL is available to traditionally employed individuals, as well as individuals employed by "hiring entities," including domestic workers, individuals providing homecare, individuals who work for delivery or transportation networks and certain healthcare professionals. The PHFWO, in fact, presumes that an individual is a covered employee unless:
Covered employees who work fewer than 40 hours per week receive an amount of leave equal to the amount of hours they worked over a 14-day period. Covered employees who work 40 or more hours per week may receive whichever amount of leave is greater:
The PHFWO also establishes a system, run through the city's Office of Labor, for calculating the amount of leave for individuals who work for multiple hiring entities, collecting funds and allocating the funds to covered workers.
Covered employers should also be aware that absence because of PHEL may not lead to discipline, discharge, demotion, suspension or any other adverse employment action.