On December 15, 2021, many workers in Allegheny County gained a right to paid sick leave so that they can take time off to care for their health or that of their loved ones without sacrificing their economic security. A Better Balance was thrilled to work with advocates on this new law’s passage, and congratulate Pittsburgh UNITED and other coalition members on the victory.
This success is part of a years-long push among Pennsylvania localities and advocates to adopt paid sick leave requirements in a state that does not have its own statewide sick leave law. That push started in Philadelphia, which adopted a paid sick leave law in 2015. But it would have ended there if not for a groundbreaking decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2019 that allowed localities other than “first-class” cities—of which Philadelphia is the only one—to enact public health measures like paid sick leave requirements. That decision allowed Pittsburgh to finally put its paid sick leave law into effect after years of litigation, and even enact an emergency paid sick leave law in 2020—and extend it in 2021—to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Better Balance was proud to support the City of Pittsburgh in this litigation and submit an amicus brief to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in partnership with the Local Solutions Support Center. We have also been happy to work with our state partners on all of these local protections—in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County—and provide them assistance with legal research, bill drafting, and policy support.
Once Pittsburgh opened the door to local paid sick leave laws in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County was quick to follow and take an important first step, extending the right to paid sick leave to businesses with more than 25 employees. Until Pennsylvania, or even the United States, passes a comprehensive paid sick leave law, it is up to localities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County to fill in the gaps so that workers have this much-needed right. We look forward to working with our partners in the State to build on these successes.
For more information about workplace rights in Pennsylvania, click here.