On March 29, 2021, the City of Philadelphia enacted an ordinance providing for paid Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL). Our blog post on the requirements of the leave can be found here. That leave requirement is now expired and employers no longer need to provide this leave.
The PHEL’s sunset provision tied its expiration specifically to the rescission or expiration of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency. However, “public health emergency” was defined much broader in the ordinance and included any “declared or proclaimed emergency related to a public health threat, risk, disaster or emergency that affects Philadelphia that is made or issued by a federal, state or local official with the authority to make or issue such a declaration or proclamation.” As such, there was confusion as to when the PHEL would expire.
On June 10, 2021, the Pennsylvania Assembly rescinded the Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency. Due to the conflict with regard to the definition of “public health emergency” in the PHEL ordinance, some believed the PHEL remained in effect even after the rescission of the Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency.
However, this week, the City updated its website to state “This March 29, 2021 Public Health Emergency leave expired on June 10, 2021. Eligible employees who are unable to work for covered reasons on the day of expiration may use any remaining Public Health Emergency Leave balance for one week following this expiration date.” Based on this publication by the City, as well as the sunset provision in the PHEL ordinance, it is safe to say that PHEL leave expired as of June 10, 2021, with the exception of certain situations where leave could be used by employees through June 17, 2021, and that employers are no longer required to provide such leave to employees.