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Should paid sick leave be mandated for all employees?

Should paid sick leave be mandated for all employees?

That’s a question being taken up by a growing number of cities and states in recent months, as advocacy groups and business organizations spar over whether the benefit should be required by law or remain a perk businesses choose to offer employees. In Philadelphia, for example, the city council has until Thursday to override a veto issued by Mayor Michael Nutter on April 3 against the city’s initiative mandating paid sick leave for most workers. It originally passed March 14.

The debate in Philadelphia follows recent wins for paid sick leave supporters in Portland, Ore., which passed an ordinance March 13, as well as in New York, which on March 28 became the fifth major city to require that businesses provide ill workers with paid time off. (San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle and the state of Connecticut also have laws in place.)

The measure is gaining enough interest nationally that one observer called paid sick leave “the new must-support issue for ambitious Democrats across the nation,” especially after New York City council speaker and Democratic mayoral candidate Christine Quinn conceded on the issue after opposing it for three years.

How many more local governments will pass similar laws is unclear. But New York was seen as a “tipping point,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, which has been leading campaigns supporting their passage. She believes it could prompt action at more of the nearly 20 other states and cities where campaigns to enact paid sick leave ordinances are active or recently have been.

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