Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down a long-awaited decision upholding Pittsburgh’s paid sick time ordinance. The City of Pittsburgh, with assistance from A Better Balance and many other community organizations, passed the ordinance nearly four years ago to the day—on August 3, 2015—but its implementation had been on hold while a lawsuit against the law made its way through the court system.
Opponents of the Pittsburgh paid sick time law claimed that the city lacked authority under state law to enact regulations that put obligations on businesses. Thankfully, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recognized that paid sick leave laws are much more than business regulations; these laws play an important role in promoting public health, especially in marginalized communities. The court also noted that Pennsylvania had given charter cities like Pittsburgh broad “home rule” powers to protect the health, welfare, and safety of their residents, a grant of power that would be useless if cities could not enact any regulation that has some effect—even incidental—on businesses.
A Better Balance submitted an amicus brief in the case along with a group of law professors from Pennsylvania and across the country, and we celebrate this important decision. We also offer a well-deserved congratulations to all of the advocates who worked hard to ensure that residents in the two largest cities in Pennsylvania—Philadelphia’s paid sick leave ordinance has been in effect since 2015—can take the time they need to take care of their health and that of their loved ones without having to fear the economic consequences of missing work.