Pittsburg Paid Leave Law to Become Effective

On July 17, 2019, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Western District overturned a lower court’s ruling related to Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Leave. As a reminder, in August 2015, the Pittsburgh City Council passed and Mayor Peduto signed into law the Paid Sick Days Ordinance. The law requires employers doing business in the city of Pittsburgh to provide paid sick leave to employees in the amount of one hour for every 35 hours worked (up to 40 hours per year for employers with 15 or more employees; 24 hours for employers with fewer than 15). Employees could take the leave for their own or family member’s illness, preventive care, or in the event of declared public health emergency.

However, the law never went into effect as it was later overturned by a trial court and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. In September 2015, a group of businesses – mostly restaurants – challenged the ordinance. The argument was that Pittsburgh is a home rule charter municipality. Under Pennsylvania law, no such municipality may impose requirements on businesses unless those requirements are applicable to all municipalities. There is an exception for rules related to general health and the prevention of disease.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Western District has now overturned the lower courts decisions and agrees with the city’s argument that the sick leave ordinance falls under the health and prevention of disease exception.

There is no immediate action for employers as we must await the city’s guidance on effective dates and revised notices. However, employers should be prepared to comply in the future. We will report any developments in Compliance Corner.

Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association v. City of Pittsburgh »