Citing concerns that County Council may have exceeded its powers, today Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald vetoed a bill that would have required employers of 26 or more to offer paid sick leave to employees.
Fitzgerald, who is a vocal supporter of paid leave, referred to a confidential letter from the County Solicitor as reason for his rejection. Unlike the city of Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave law, which was challenged in court prior to its 2020 effective date, state regulations require the Allegheny County Health Department to initiate the bill. After the Health Department originates the proposed legislation, Council would vote on the bill.
Because the Health Department was tasked with developing sick leave regulations pre-pandemic, county-mandated sick leave legislation is expected to resurface later this year.
In addition, with the one-year anniversary of Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave law on March 15, the city may begin enforcement action against those employers who do not comply.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not currently have a paid sick leave law requirement. .
Although 2020’s federal Families First Coronavirus Response (FFCRA) required most employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide emergency paid sick leave and, if applicable, Expanded Paid Family and Medical Leave (E-FMLA) for specified reasons related to COVID-19, this obligation lapsed in 2020. Some employers have opted to continue to provide paid pandemic leave as subsequent federal legislation permits employers to continue to claim the provided tax credits (dollar-for-dollar on wages paid to employees taking FFCRA leave) though March 31, 2021 and then resets to provide for additional credits for eligible employers who continue to voluntarily provide the paid leave from April 1, 2021 until September 30, 2021.
If you have questions regarding Allegheny County’s Paid Sick Leave or any other employment-related legal matter, please contact Leech Tishman’s Employment & Labor Practice Group.
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