The Pennsylvania legislature has amended the state law on unemployment compensation to require employers in the Commonwealth to provide employees at the time of separation with notice of the availability of unemployment compensation — regardless of whether the employer is liable for payment of contributions to the state’s unemployment compensation fund.
Articles About Pennsylvania Labor And Employment Law.
In its latest response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania has ordered mandatory cleaning protocols for large buildings throughout the Commonwealth. On Sunday, April 5, 2020, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued an Order to take effect immediately at 12:01 a.m. Monday, April 6, 2020. The Order was issued days after Governor Wolf recommended Pennsylvanians wear face masks or coverings when in public.
There were several developments in Pennsylvania this week regarding orders dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Tom Wolf extended his “stay at home” order to all counties in the Commonwealth. The governor also stepped up the enforcement of the business closure orders by state and local government officials. Then, late on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced that the waiver process for securing an exemption from the business closure orders will close on Friday, April 3, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. EDT, again leaving the business community scrambling.
The City of Philadelphia launched the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund to assist businesses that are struggling as a result of city- and state-wide mandated business closures. According to city representatives, over $9 million in economic assistance is available in the Fund.
On March 22, 2020, the mayor of Philadelphia issued an Emergency Order temporarily prohibiting operation of non-essential businesses and congregation of persons to prevent the spread of Covid-19, updating and extending his Order of March 17, 2020, and mandating all Philadelphia residents to stay at home except for limited purposes. The Order goes into effect at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, March 23, 2020, and remains in effect “indefinitely.” The mayor’s March 17 Order was set to expire on March 27, 2020.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has issued a “Stay at Home” Order, directing residents to remain home, unless working for an “essential” business or engaging in “essential” personal activity.
In rapid succession, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered the closure of all dine-in restaurants and bars in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties, then strongly urged all non-essential Pennsylvania businesses to follow suit and voluntarily cease operations for 14 days to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Philadelphia then announced its own sweeping restrictions on commercial activity.
In an afternoon press conference on March 16, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf declared that certain non-essential businesses across Pennsylvania “are to close” for at least 14 days to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In a press release issued later that evening, Governor Wolf reiterated that “we strongly urge non-essential businesses to temporarily close,” noting that his administration was relying on businesses to act now before the governor or the secretary of health finds it necessary to compel closures
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Paid Sick Days Act will (finally) take effect on March 15, 2020, the effective date triggered when the Mayor’s Office of Equity (“MOE”) released guidelines on December 16, 2019. On February 15, 2020, one month before the ordinance’s effective date, MOE revised some of its guidelines and released a set of long-awaited Frequently Asked Questions.1 In some respects, employers may welcome the revisions and FAQs. However, challenges remain both for companies that want one policy that also complies with the Philadelphia paid sick leave ordinance and for companies with employees based outside of Pittsburgh who regularly travel through the city.
The United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit has issued its decision upholding the Philadelphia Wage Equity Ordinance, one of the so-called “salary history ban” laws.1 Now that the Third Circuit has issued its decision, employers that have not already done so must begin to prepare for compliance.
Following the lead of other courts around the country, a Pennsylvania state court has held that employees can bring lawsuits against their employers asserting claims under the state’s medical marijuana law. Palmiter v. Commonwealth Health Systems, Inc., 19-CV-1315 (Lackawanna County Nov. 22, 2019).
On February 6, 2020, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Philadelphia’s salary history ordinance and reversed the decision of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania which had held that one of the ordinance’s provisions was unconstitutional. Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce v. City of Philadelphia.1
A Pennsylvania state court held that the state’s Medical Marijuana Act creates a private right of action for medical marijuana users to sue their employers. Pamela Palmiter v. Commonwealth Health Systems, Inc., Civ. Action No. 19 CV 1315 (Pa. Ct. C.P. Lackawanna County, Nov. 22, 2019).
After more than a four-year delay, the City of Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act (“the Ordinance”) will go into effect on March 15, 2020. The city passed the Ordinance in August 2015,1 but its authority to pass such a law was challenged in court. In July 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the city’s authority to pass the Ordinance.2 On December 16, 2019, the Mayor’s Office on Equity (“MOE”) released official guidelines on the Ordinance and a sample of the required notice and posting. This process triggered the 90-day countdown to the law’s effective date. Below we highlight some more notable guidelines that attempt to clarify the Ordinance’s requirements.
We previously posted about Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave ordinance, the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act (“PSDA”), which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld this past summer after a lengthy legal challenge. Our previous post can be found here.