Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Ordinance rejected by the Trial Court Judge

According to a Trial Court Judge’s ruling issued on December 21, 2015, the City of Pittsburgh no more possessed the authority to enact the Paid Sick Days Ordinance under the State Law.


While the Ordinance was passed by the Pittsburgh City Council on August 3, 2015, it was signed into law by Mayor Peduto on August 13, 2015.


Under the Paid Sick Days Ordinance, employers are required to provide paid sick leave to most employees working within the geographical boundaries of the City of Pittsburgh. The Ordinance enables employees to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked for up to 40 hours of paid sick time for employers with 15 or more employees, and 24 hours of paid sick time for employers with fewer than 15 employees.


The Ordinance was initially scheduled to be effective on January 11, 2016.


However, it 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 restricted the City’s authority to enact any ordinance determining any duty, responsibility, or requirement of a business or private employer.


Further, the City of Pittsburgh had argued that state law permits cities to pass ordinances relating to disease prevention and control, whereas, trial court noted that the provision of state law upon which the City relied were only applicable to municipalities who had boards of health or a department of health. Pittsburgh had neither. As a result, the Judge dissented with the City’s argument that it was empowered to adopt the ordinance by the Disease Prevention and Control Law.


The court acknowledged with the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association and based on an earlier decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the Paid Sick Days Act imposed a requirement on employers, the Trial Court ruled that the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance was invalid and unenforceable. As a result, employers weren’t under any legal obligation to provide any paid sick time for employees working in the City of Pittsburgh.



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