Legislation that would require Philadelphia employers to provide paid sick days to their workers inched forward in City Council today.

The bill, sponsored by Councilmen Darrell Clarke and Bill Greenlee, was moved back to the regular legislative calendar, with a chance that an amended version could get final passage before Council breaks for the summer.

Greenlee said the amendments would exempt workplaces covered by union contracts. In addition, the number of sick days that workers could earn would be limited. Workers at businesses with 10 or less workers could earn up to four sick days, while those at larger businesses could earn up to 7, Greenlee said.

Greenlee said he hoped the changes would ease the fears of many in the business community. He added that he thinks he has enough votes to pass the legislation. The soonest the bill could receive final passage and be sent to the mayor for approval would be June 9.

"Is it government's role to try to help?" Greenlee said. "The most noteworthy stuff government does is addressing unfairness."

The sick-leave legislation has prompted heated debate since its introduction in March. Advocates say the bill would help provide a safety net for an estimated 210,000 Philadelphia workers who don't have paid sick days. But some businesses have raised concerns. The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill, saying it could hurt job creation in a tough economic time.

Mayor Nutter opposes the bill, saying it could be bad for business. A spokesman this week declined to comment on whether Nutter would veto the bill if it passes out of Council.