Employers in Philadelphia, PA with 25 or more employees must provide up to 40 hours of additional paid sick leave to eligible employees when they are unable to work for certain COVID-19 related reasons.

The new measure became effective on March 9, 2022 and will extend through the end of 2023. It covers employees who are unable to work for the following reasons: To care for self or a family member showing symptoms of COVID-19 To care for self or a family member exposed to COVID-19, in order to self-isolate As a result of childcare or school closures To obtain a COVID-19 test or vaccine, or to recover from injury, disability or illness related to vaccination The ordinance does not only cover employees physically working in Philadelphia. An “employee” is defined as an individual: Working for an employer within Philadelphia after the effective date of the Ordinance Who normally works for that employer within the City of Philadelphia but is currently teleworking from any other location as a result of COVID-19 Who works for the employer from multiple locations or from mobile locations, provided that 51% or more of such employee’s time is present within  Philadelphia. Employees working 40 hours or more in a week are entitled to 40 hours of leave. Employees working less than 40 hours in a week are entitled to an amount of leave “equal to the amount of time the employee is otherwise scheduled to work or actually works on average in a 7-day period, whichever is greater.”

This COVID leave takes effect immediately with no waiting period and is in addition to all other paid leave benefits offered by an employer. The amount of COVID leave provided to an eligible employee is not reduced by the amount of paid leave an employee has previously received. Moreover, an employer may not require an employee to use other available paid leave before the worker is eligible to use COVID-19 leave, unless that is required by state or federal law.

Existing policies may cover the amount of new COVID leave. If an employer maintains a paid leave policy that provides 120 hours or more of paid leave, the employer is not required to change its leave policy. Similarly, employers are not required to provide additional paid leave to employees who complete the majority of their work responsibilities through telework if the employer’s existing policy provides such employees at least 80 hours of paid leave that can be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions as COVID-19 leave.

Employers must provide notice of the availability of COVID-19 leave to employees. Employees are required to inform their employer of the need for COVID-19 leave as practicable and as soon as feasible, but only when the need for COVID-19 leave is foreseeable. An employer is permitted only to request that an employee submit a self-certified statement asserting that leave was used for COVID-19 leave purposes.

For more information, please contact your health insurance specialists at Total Benefit Solutions, Inc 1 (800) 924-6718.