Business Capital

PA's Two Largest Cities Threaten Business Growth with Leave Mandates

August 20, 2015

Business owners in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are feeling the pinch from new citywide laws that force them to adhere to pre-determined, government-mandated paid time off for their employees. On behalf of member businesses across Pennsylvania, the PA Chamber is speaking out against these rules because they ignore what makes each business unique, including their size, financial situation and industry— in favor of a one-size-fits all approach that could have harmful economic consequences.  


While mandated leave policies are trending across the country, they only hit Pennsylvania earlier this year when Philadelphia City Council enacted a law for businesses in the city that have 10 or more employees. Just a few weeks ago, Pittsburgh City Council followed suit with a new law that requires all city employers to offer paid leave to their workers. 


Many business owners will find it difficult to adhere to these strict time-off mandates. For example, an employer with just a handful of workers may simply not be able to provide much time off; companies also might not have the money to pay the overtime to one worker while another is on leave. 


What’s also alarming is how quickly the Pittsburgh ordinance was pushed through the legislative process, with only a month between when the bill was introduced to when it became law. This gave employers little say in the matter and hardly any time to evaluate and comment on the impact of this unfair burden. The legality of the Pittsburgh leave mandate will likely be determined in court. But the PA Chamber agrees with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial board and the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce that the issue of employee leave time should not be the city’s call, it should rest squarely with what makes sense for each individual business. 


That’s why the PA Chamber is advocating support of S.B. 333, which would prohibit Pennsylvania municipalities from imposing their own mandatory leave policies on businesses. The bill cleared the state Senate this spring and awaits consideration in the House Labor and Industry Committee. We’ve joined a coalition of business groups in urging the General Assembly to get this important legislation to the governor’s desk as we continue our mission to improve the bottom line for the Commonwealth’s business community. 


Business owners and executives are the best people to make leave decisions about their company, and it’s imperative that their choices are based on what works best for the overall health of the business and the people they employ.



Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.