On Tuesday, December 22, an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge ruled that the City of Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Ordinance (the Ordinance) is “invalid and unenforceable.”
In a five page opinion, The Honorable Joseph M. James struck down the Ordinance citing statutory limitations on the City’s power to “enact [an] ordinance determining any duty, responsibility or requirement of a business or private employer.” The Ordinance, according to Judge James, placed “affirmative duties on businesses, occupations and employers” in violation of Pennsylvania’s Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law, which applies to the City of Pittsburgh. Judge James also rejected the notion that the City was authorized to pass the Ordinance under two additional laws the City cited in the text of the Ordinance itself.
The Ordinance had been the subject of litigation since shortly after it was passed by the Pittsburgh City Council and signed into law by Mayor Peduto in August 2015. It required most employers in the City of Pittsburgh to accrue paid sick time for their employees-40 hours of paid sick leave each year for employers with 15 or more employees and 24 hours per year for employers with fewer than 15 employees. Initially the Ordinance had been scheduled to go into effect on January 11, 2016. That effective date was pushed back to March 10, 2016 pending this legal challenge. Now the Ordinance has been invalidated.
The City may appeal the court’s ruling. If it does, it will be some time until there is a final resolution to the question of whether the Ordinance will ever take effect. At least until then, employers in the City of Pittsburgh are not required to provide paid sick days to their employees.
For more information or assistance in this matter, please contact Houston Harbaugh’s employment law attorneys: