National Federation of Independent Business Applauds Decision on Pittsburgh Paid Leave Ordinance
Municipalities should not be mandating labor rules that put additional burdens on small business
HARRISBURG, PA (May 17, 2017) — The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) applauded today’s decision by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, which ruled that the City of Pittsburgh lacks the authority to impose paid sick leave requirements on employers operating within the City. NFIB led a coalition of state and national industry groups in filing an amicus brief in the case.
"This is an important victory for small businesses in Pennsylvania," said Karen Harned, executive director of the NFIB Legal Center. "We are very concerned about this nationwide trend of municipalities seeking to impose stringent labor and employment standards on private businesses at the local level. These ordinances seriously complicate operations, by creating a patchwork of different laws that are especially cumbersome for businesses with a mobile workforce."
In the legal filing, NFIB argued that upholding Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave ordinance would invite balkanization of labor and employment standards across the Commonwealth, stating the Pennsylvania General Assembly or the federal government should make those decisions for the sake of uniformity. Further, NFIB’s coalition brief argued that such balkanization hurts the economy, employment, and state tax revenues – all of which undermines Pennsylvania’s policy of regulating employment and labor standards exclusively at the state level.
"The Pittsburgh Mandated Leave Act put additional labor costs on small businesses, and many of them simply can’t afford it," said Kevin Shivers, executive state director of NFIB Pennsylvania. "If a businesses’ customers wouldn’t pay higher prices, the company owner might be forced to lay off workers. That not good for employment or the economy."
Pittsburgh is a home rule city barred under state law from imposing burdens on employers. But the city argued in this most recent appeal that there is an exception for matters concerning public health. NFIB successfully argued the home rule law was not intended to be so broadly interpreted.
The paid leave bill that passed in 2015 was initially challenged by the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association. The NFIB Legal Center filed a brief on appeal to the Commonwealth Court, joined by the Pennsylvania Food Merchants, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the National Restaurant Association.