Employers Sue City over Paid Sick Leave

By Bauder, Bob | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 22, 2015 | Go to article overview

Employers Sue City over Paid Sick Leave


Bauder, Bob, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


A hospitality trade group, four restaurants and a cleaning service filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to overturn a Pittsburgh ordinance requiring they offer paid sick leave to employees, calling it unconstitutional and a financial hardship.

Pittsburgh City Council adopted the measure in August to require employers to offer employees one hour of sick leave for every 35 hours worked. Businesses with 15 or more employees must offer up to 40 hours of sick leave per year. Those with fewer than 15 employees must offer up to 24 hours.

The lawsuit, filed in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, contends the city's ordinance violates Pennsylvania law governing municipalities and the state constitution. It asks the court to declare the ordinance void.

"In attempting to provide a one-size-fits-all mandate to every business within the city regarding sick leave, the city of Pittsburgh has not only ignored the individual business realities facing employers, but has violated the statutory limits on its power," the lawsuit states.

Mayor Bill Peduto, who signed the ordinance, said the United States is "the only country in the world where workers don't have paid sick leave."

"They're on the wrong side of history," he said of the businesses that sued. "As the rest of the country and the world are moving forward, they're trying to drag us back."

About 49,000 people work private-sector jobs in Pittsburgh that don't offer paid sick leave, according to a survey by Women's Policy Research, a Washington-based nonprofit that focuses on women's issues.

The Service Employees International Union, which has made significant donations to council members' campaign funds, pushed for establishment of the ordinance. Council adopted the law despite a warning from the city Law Department that it would be vulnerable to a legal challenge. …

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