On July 17, 2019, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has overturned lower court decisions and held that Pittsburgh has the authority to require paid sick leave for employees within the City. Under the ordinance at issue, employers with 15 or more employees must provide 40 hours of paid sick and employers with fewer than 15 employees must provide up to 24 hours of paid sick leave per year for their employees.

In 2015, Pittsburgh City Council passed this ordinance requiring private employers to provide paid sick leave, the Counsel said that paid sick leave would further disease control and prevention. The ordinance was met with immediate opposition from business leaders and the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association sued the City.

In May 2017 the Commonwealth Court affirmed the December 2015 Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas ruling, finding that the City did not have the right, either under home rule charter or state disease prevention laws, to issue such ordinances.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the Commonwealth Court and found that the City does have authority under the home rule charter. The case will now be remanded to the lower court.

Pennsylvania legislators may also have an impact, as there is already a bill planned, that if passed, would prevent local governments from regulating employment practices such as paid sick leave.

It may be a race to see if the bill can be passed in the fall session or if the City can implement its ordinance first.

For now, employers within the City of Pittsburgh who do not already offer the minimum paid sick leave should begin evaluating plans and pay close attention to any enforcement issued by the City.