Judge Rules City of Pittsburgh Did Not Have Authority to Enact Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On August 3, 2015 the Pittsburgh City Council passed the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, which was signed into law by Mayor Peduto on August 13, 2015. The ordinance required employers to provide paid sick leave to most employees working within the geographical boundaries of the City of Pittsburgh.  Under the ordinance, employees would accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked for up to 40 hours of paid sick time for employers with fifteen or more employees, and 24 hours of paid sick time for employers with fewer than fifteen employees. The ordinance was initially scheduled to be effective on January 11, 2016.

The ordinance was challenged by the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association and various other businesses operating in the City.  They argued that the City of Pittsburgh is a home rule charter municipality governed by state law which places limitations on the City’s authority to enact any ordinance determining any duty, responsibility, or requirement of a business or private employer.  The Judge disagreed with the City’s argument that it was empowered to adopt the ordinance by the Disease Prevention and Control Law.

The court agreed with the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association and found that the City of Pittsburgh did not have the statutory authority to enact the Ordinance.  By Order dated December 21, 2015, the Judge ruled that the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance is invalid and unenforceable.  Therefore, employers have no legal obligation to provide any paid sick time for employees working in the City of Pittsburgh.

For more information about this decision and other employment law matters, contact Elaina Smiley, or any other Meyer, Unkovic & Scott attorney with whom you have worked.

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