Pennsylvania Supreme Court Agrees to Review Striking of Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Law

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania yesterday agreed to hear an appeal concerning the City of Pittsburgh’s authority to enact the Sick Days Act.

Pittsburgh enacted that Act in August 2015. Last May, an appellate court affirmed a lower court’s decision that the city did not have the authority to enact it and invalidating it  The lone dissenting judge said that Pittsburgh had the right to protect the health and safety of its residents and that the Paid Sick Days Ordinance  was an exercise of that right.

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The appeal will focus on an interpretation of the Home Rule Charter Law, which limits the City’s authority to regulate business “except as expressly provided by statutes….”

In agreeing to hear the appeal, the Supreme Court framed the issue as follows:

“Did the Commonwealth Court err in holding that the State Emergency Management Services Code, the State Disease Prevention and Control Act Law, the Second Class City Code, and the Home Rule Charter and Options Law failed to satisfy the “expressly provided by statute” exception, and that the City of Pittsburgh therefore lacked the authority to pass the Paid Sick Days Act and the Safe and Secure Buildings Act?”

The Pittsburgh Sick Time Act hews to the typical architecture of a paid sick time law. Employees would accrue one hour of paid time for every 35 hours worked, to a maximum of 40 hours annually.