A Critical Win in the Keystone State: Commonwealth Court Strikes Down Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Leave

Date: June 08, 2017

An especially frustrating problem for small business owners is the seemingly endless maze of red-tape governing their everyday affairs. Indeed, even focusing on the basics of employment law—with all its complications under state and federal law—the trouble is that the rules are constantly in flux, as special interest groups are constantly pushing for new and more cumbersome (often more complicated) regulatory standards. For example, last fall San Jose enacted an ordinance requiring employers to offer more hours to existing part-time employees before hiring new workers. Likewise, New York City recently enacted an ordinance making it more difficult to create and modify an employee’s schedule.

But NFIB Legal Center is fighting back where we can. And recently we scored a big win for small business in a case striking-down Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave ordinance. On appeal to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, we lead a coalition of industry groups in urging affirmance of a lower court decision that had ruled that Pennsylvania law prohibits municipalities from adding regulatory burdens on employers. In siding with us, the Court of Appeals made clear that—at least in Pennsylvania—employers can operate with a single state-wide standard. Our brief in Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association v. City of Pittsburgh is available here.

Of course, Pennsylvania small business owners must still navigate the complexities of state and federal law. But at least for now they are spared from having to deal with an added layer of red-tape, which can only complicate things further. Still, there is a chance this case may ultimately go to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If that happens, you can rest assured that the NFIB Legal Center will speak-up for small business. And looking beyond the Keystone State, we will continue to look for opportunities to limit the scope of municipal powers—to keep local government from further complicating an already difficult area of the law.

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