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Philadelphia Enacts 2021 Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL)

The Philadelphia Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) law began on March 29, 2021 and will remain in effect until one week after the end of the public health emergency.

This law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to eligible employees for specific COVID-19 reasons including:

  • Care for self or family member showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Care for self or family member exposed to COVID-19 to self-isolate.
  • Childcare or school closure
  • To receive a vaccine or recover from injury, disability or illness related to vaccination.
  • If you need to miss work for the reasons outlined above, you can request paid sick leave from your employer.

Eligible employees must work for their employer for at least 90 days AND

  1. work in Philadelphia;
  2. normally work in Philadelphia but are currently teleworking from another location as a result of COVID-19 and;
  3. work for their employer from multiple locations or mobile locations, if at least 51% of their work time is spent in Philadelphia.

This law includes full time employees, part time employees, and union employees. However, this law does not cover seasonal, temporary, state, or federal employees. Also, this law does not apply to independent contractors.

Employers must provide a model notice to employees by April 13, 2021. This paid sick leave must be provided outside of and prior to using the eligible employee’s existing accrued paid time off for certain employees. Covered employers whose existing leave policies provide 160 hours or more of paid time off in 2021 that is not specifically designated as sick leave but can be used for the same purposes under the same conditions as required by this law shall not be required to provide additional paid sick leave.

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