To contain the spread of COVID-19, the City of Philadelphia and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have restricted certain business and workplace activities. We recognize the significant impact that these policies will have on workers, but we urge everyone to observe the new restrictions so that the threat of coronavirus can be contained.

During this difficult time, the City will continue to share resources that can help workers impacted by business closures and other effects of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Using Sick Leave

The City’s “Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act,” otherwise known as the sick leave law, has been further defined so that covered workers can use their paid sick leave for COVID-19 related preventative care without fear of retaliation. During the COVID-19 risk, covered employees can use accrued paid sick time for the following:

  • Mandated business closures
  • Caring for children during school or childcare closures
  • Official quarantine and self-quarantine
  • Illness and treatment of an illness for yourself or a family member

Employees are not required to provide a note from a medical professional in order to use consecutive paid sick leave during the COVID-19 health risk.

The emergency regulations which provide further definition are posted on the City’s regulations website and are effective immediately.

Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation benefits

Employees impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Unemployment Compensation

You may be eligible if:

  • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19.
  • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19.
  • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19.
  • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts.

Apply online—it’s the fastest and easiest way to get started.

Because of COVID-19, the Commonwealth is waiving wait time and work requirements. Previously, claimants were not eligible for benefits during their first week of unemployment (the “waiting week”). This has been suspended. Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their Unemployment Compensation benefits. 

Workers’ Compensation

There are two filing options. If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 in your workplace, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation by either:

  • Notifying your employer to file a typical “disease-as-injury” Workers’ Compensation claim, which requires you to provide medical evidence that you were exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Notifying your employer to file an “occupational disease” Workers’ Compensation claim, which requires you to show that COVID-19 is occurring more in your occupation/industry than in the general population.

Learn more about Workers’ Compensation

The PA Department of Labor & Industry will continue to provide important benefit updates as the situation evolves.

Utilities relief

  • PECO is suspending fees for delays in bills and service shut-offs for three months, effective March 13, 2020 through at least May 1, 2020.
  • Philadelphia Gas Works is suspending non-payment terminations and will waive new late payment charges. This termination moratorium will remain in place until further notice. 
  • Philadelphia Water Department is also suspending non-payment terminations and plans to waive new late payment charges. This termination moratorium will remain in place until further notice. Please note that regular billing will continue for all customers. Click here for the latest PWD updates related to COVID-19

Free food and meals

Beginning Monday, March 30, Philadelphia residents impacted by the COVID-19 crisis can pick up a free box of food for their household at several locations throughout the city. Find a free food site here.

In addition, while schools are closed, families can pick up meals for children and youth at 80+ locations throughout the city. All children and youth are eligible and no ID is required. Find a meal site near you.

Workforce information and resources for workers, career seekers, and businesses

Philadelphia Works, the City’s workforce development board, which funds and manages local PA CareerLink® centers, has been working hard to maintain the continuity of services for  residents and local businesses during this time.

For Businesses

Employers hiring at this time can post job opportunities on the PA CareerLink® website. If you need to speak to someone directly regarding the details of your open position or need to provide specific guidance for your job posting, email info@pacareerlinkphl.org or call 833-750-5627. 

For Career Seekers

Individuals can access available job opportunities here. If you need assistance in applying, please email info@pacareerlinkphl.org or call (833) 750-5627. Visit PA CareerLink® Philadelphia

Federal response

The Senate passed the House coronavirus relief bill without changes on Wednesday, March 18, freeing up Congress to focus on passing subsequent legislation that will likely amount to one of the largest spending packages in modern history. 

The “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” includes provisions that:

  • Establish a federal emergency paid leave benefits program to provide payment to employees taking unpaid leave due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Expand unemployment benefits and provide grants to states for processing and paying claims.
  • Require employers to provide paid sick leave to employees.

Other Resources

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has developed a guide to help you prioritize bills during this challenging time.
  • The United Way of Pennsylvania has compiled resources related to COVID-19.

Tell us about the impact COVID-19 is having on your work activity

Workers in Philadelphia can complete this brief survey to tell us how your work is being impacted by the spread of COVID-19. The City will review the survey responses in order to better understand and respond to the needs of the region’s workforce.

The survey is available in:

Remember to text “COVIDPHL” to 888-777 to stay connected with free alerts from the City.