Philadelphia, PA: New Regulations for Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance
All Employers with Employees in Philadelphia, PA
February 21, 2023
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Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor released its third round of regulations addressing job-protected paid leave under the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance (PHFWO).
Paid Sick and Safe Time During COVID-19. Employers must provide employees with up to 40 hours of sick leave per year. A covered use no longer involves absences connected to an employee or family member having a greater risk of harm than the general population if they contract COVID-19 or self-quarantining for two weeks after returning to the United States from travel abroad. Preventive medical care including testing and vaccination (including boosters) is covered. Employers are encouraged not to require documentation from a healthcare professional for absences. A signed statement from the employee affirming physical illness or a health condition exhibiting symptoms is sufficient.
COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave. The requirements apply to employers with 25 or more employees who work in Philadelphia, normally work in Philadelphia but currently telework from another location due to COVID-19, or work from multiple locations or from mobile locations and 51% or more of their work time is in Philadelphia. Employees can use this leave for the following qualifying reasons: 1) being subject to a determination by a public official or public health authority with jurisdiction; 2) advice given by a Health Care provider; or 3) a direction given by the COVID-19 Employer related to the public health emergency that is applicable to the type of business or work the employee engages in or specific to the employee because the employee’s presence on the job or in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of the employee’s exposure to COVID-19 or because the employee is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Employers can comply with the law by providing a policy of their own that complies with the requirements of the law regardless of when it was adopted. Employers do not have to cash out the balance of any unused COVID-19 paid sick leave when employment ends.
Pool & Healthcare Employee Pay & Benefits Continuation. Health care services are defined as: any inpatient or outpatient medical or behavioral health, dental, nursing, medical first responder, pharmacological, assisted living residence, intermediate care, adult daycare, long term care facility, acupuncture, audiology, drug and alcohol, hearing aid, chiropractic care, naturopathic care, occupational therapy, physical therapy, athletic training as defined in Second Amendment to the Emergency Regulation Governing the Control and Prevention of COVID-19 Mandating Vaccines For Healthcare Workers and in Higher Education, Healthcare, and Related Settings, optometry, ophthalmology, or speech language pathology services. The requirements for pay and benefit continuation only apply to those employees that work in person and not telework. There is also no limitation for how long an employee can be absent. An absence can be longer than the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s recommendation for isolation if there is a medical opinion stating the employee cannot return to work due to COVID-19 illness. A general direction or recommendation to quarantine is insufficient documentation to substantiate the need for leave. Pay is in addition to other benefits an employer may provide and cannot be covered by existing leave policies.
- Have leave policies updated.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on the updated requirements.
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