In Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association v. City of Pittsburgh, No. GD 15-016442 (Allegheny Ct. Com. Pl. Dec. 21, 2015), the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County found the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Leave Ordinance to be invalid and unenforceable.
The Ordinance, which was signed into law this past summer, would have required most employers doing business in the City of Pittsburgh to provide at least one hour of paid sick leave to employees for every 35 hours worked. In the Lodging Association decision, however, the court determined that the City lacked authority to pass and enforce the Ordinance under Pennsylvania’s Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law (HRCL).
The HRCL generally prohibits "home rule charter municipalities" like Pittsburgh from "determin[ing] duties, responsibilities or requirements placed upon businesses, occupations and employers." The court determined that the Ordinance "places affirmative duties on businesses, occupations and employers in violation of the HRCL."
The court also found that the Ordinance could not be enforced under an exception to the HRCL, which allows home charter municipalities to determine duties imposed on employers by laws that apply throughout the state or to certain classes of cities. Specifically, the court held that the City could not adopt the Ordinance under Pennsylvania’s Disease Prevention and Control Law (DPCL) because the DPCL applies only to "[m]unicipalities which have boards or departments of health or county departments of health" and "the City has neither a board nor a department of health." The court also held that the City could not adopt the Ordinance under Pennsylvania’s Second Class City Code because that law does not apply to home rule municipalities.
Unless the Lodging Association decision is appealed and reversed, employers doing business in Pittsburgh will not need to comply with the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance or amend their policies to do so.