This post was written by Candace Chewning, Mayor’s Office of Labor.


Certain Philadelphia workers have new protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. These employees include health care employees and people who work for employers with 500 employees or more. 

Health care employee pandemic paid sick leave

On September 9, 2020, Philadephia’s sick leave law was amended so that certain health care employees are compensated in the event they contract a communicable disease during a pandemic or epidemic event, all under certain terms and conditions.

Health care employers are required to provide certain health care employees and pool employees with paid sick leave when they miss work and test positive for COVID-19. This includes hospitals, nursing homes, and home health providers.

Health care employees include service employees, health care professionals, per diem employees, and other full-time and part-time employees who work for health care employers. 

In order to qualify for this additional COVID-19 pandemic paid sick leave, the health care employee must have tested positive for COVID-19 and worked for the employer at least 40 hours in the three months prior to contracting COVID-19. 

Public health emergency paid sick leave

Philadelphia’s sick leave law was amended so that employers with 500 or more employees are required to provide up to 112 hours of paid sick leave under certain circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic to Philadelphia employees who request it due to:

  • Care for self or family member showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Care for self or family member advised to self quarantine by a health care provider.
  • Care for self or family during local quarantine.
  • Childcare closure.

This is in effect September 17, 2020, through December 31, 2020. A note is not required in order to request public health emergency paid sick leave.

Employees who work for multiple employers have specific terms outlined in the regulations, including a specific start date. 

Employees excluded under the FFCRA may be covered under the public health emergency paid sick leave amendment. 

How do I request paid sick leave?

If you are a health care employee or an employee who works for an employer with 500 or more employees, notify your employer immediately that you would like to be compensated for the reasons outlined above. You can do this by sending your supervisor an email or any other existing policy or practice you would normally use to request paid sick leave. 

What else do I need to know?

Retaliation by employers is illegal, including threats to immigration status. 

Additional resources—including a notice of this protection for employers to post—are provided on the COVID-19 pandemic paid sick leave resources page. Regulations will be added once finalized. 

Workers may also be eligible for the City’s Paid Sick Leave, the FFCRA for employees who work for employers with 499 or fewer employees, or other federal protections.

Contact us if you have been denied paid sick leave

If you have requested paid sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic and were denied, contact us for help.

Employees can file a complaint about violations of paid sick leave during the pandemic with the Mayor’s Office of Labor by completing the COVID-19 pandemic paid sick leave complaint form and emailing it to  COVID19WorkplaceProtections@phila.gov or calling (215) 686-0802.

Employers can contact the Office of Benefits and Wage Compliance in the Mayor’s Office of Labor for compliance assistance. For more information or to ask questions, email  COVID19WorkplaceProtections@phila.gov or call (215) 686-0802. Language access is available.

More resources on paid sick leave

Additional information and resources related to COVID-19 pandemic paid sick leave is available for workers and employees.