Earlier this year, we told you that Pittsburgh became the second city in Pennsylvania to enact a paid sick leave law, providing, in part, that employers were required to provide employees a minimum of 1 hour of paid sick time per 35 hours worked, with the maximum accrual dependent upon the number of employees. In September, a group of plaintiffs, including the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, mounted a legal challenge against the Act. Now, the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County has ruled that the Act is “invalid and unenforceable.”
The plaintiffs claimed that the City did not have the authority to enact the ordinance under what is known as the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law. That law provides that a home rule municipality, such as Pittsburgh, “shall not determine duties, responsibilities or requirements placed upon businesses, occupations and employers” unless expressly provided by statute. The Court determined that the Act did just that, in violation of the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law. While the Court noted there is a statute which permits municipalities with boards or departments of health to enact ordinances pertaining to disease prevention and control, the Court found the City does not have the authority to adopt such an ordinance, as it does not have a department or board of health. Finally, although the Act itself cited to the Second Class City Code, the Court found that the Code is not applicable to home rule municipalities.
As a result, companies with operations in Pittsburgh need not update their sick and paid leave policies to comply with the Act. However, they should continue to stay tuned for any developments and further updates.