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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 7, 2015 02:38 PM
From: Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr. and Sen. Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Pre-emption and Local Employer Leave Laws
We plan on introducing legislation that would provide for clear state preemption of local mandated leave ordinances.

As a Commonwealth, Pennsylvania has over 2,500 general purpose units of local government. Although the powers of these local governments come from the state which created them, they do have some sphere of power to control nuisances and promote general welfare in their communities. Over the years, well intentioned local governments across the nation have tried to pass legislation on all sorts of issues. Unfortunately, this can cause problems with regard to issues where uniformity is important and policy should be set at the state level-- where the primary power to preserve the general welfare resides. Last session, we had the example of nuisance ordinances interfering with overall public policy on domestic violence.

Currently, the City of Philadelphia is moving forward on an ordinance that would require businesses with more than five employees to provide up to 56 hours of paid time off a year, regardless of the type of business or any current policy it may have in place. The 56 hours could be used for nearly any reason. Not all businesses are the same and a blanket policy that does not recognize these differences only hurts small businesses struggling in this current economy. Clearly, the state and federal governments are the appropriate policy makers when labor laws are involved.

Local mandates such as this not only create an uneven playing field for the businesses located inside the municipality, but as more governments jump on board, businesses with more than one location are forced to comply with a variety of different and changing mandates.Twelve states have already passed such preemption bills.

Please join us in sponsoring this legislation which would clarify local municipalities may not mandate a local leave policy.

Introduced as SB333