A Look Ahead for the Week of April 29, 2024

House and Senate lawmakers are in Harrisburg this week and, as always, the PA Chamber is currently monitoring several pieces of legislation with the potential to impact the state’s business community.

Discouraging ‘Ghosting’ Interviews/Jobs (S.B. 1109)

Senate Bill 1109 may receive a vote on the Senate Floor this week.

This legislation clarifies existing Unemployment Compensation eligibility standards to codify that an individual is not eligible for benefits if they discourage their own employment.

Under current law, UC claimants are generally required to engage in an active search for work, including applying for open positions in their field, engaging in other work search activity, and interviewing for jobs. Unfortunately, employers report interviewing job candidates who admit they are only applying in order to comply with the work search requirement and often fail to show up for job interviews or work, known as “ghosting”.

This bill would clarify the law to disqualify claimants who discourage their own employment. It would not create any additional requirements for claimants who are searching or applying for work in good faith.

Workers’ Compensation Expansion (H.B. 1632)

House Bill 1632 may receive a vote on the House Floor this week.

This legislation would dramatically expand eligibility for workers’ compensation disability benefits for various categories of employees diagnosed with mental health conditions.

Under current law, mental health conditions are generally compensable for workers’ compensation medical and wage-loss benefits if they are related to a physical injury or the result of an incident outside of the normal scope of employment. Otherwise, mental healthcare costs are generally covered by regular health insurance. This legislation – which is intended to cover emergency response personnel, but may be interpreted to include certain private sector employees as well – would trigger eligibility for workers’ compensation without safeguards to avoid misuse, which could increase costs significantly and incentivize plaintiffs’ attorneys to file unwarranted claims.

PA Human Relations Act Policy and Posting Requirements (H.B. 2104)

House Bill 2104 may also receive a vote on the House Floor this week.

This legislation would require employers to adopt and post written policies and procedures for preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation against employees.

This bill imposes new requirements on employers to adopt specific policies as eventually outlined by the PA Human Relations Commission and post those policies in the workplace.  Employers who are found to have violated any of these requirements of this act may be subject to penalties of up to $5,000 per violation. The PA Chamber has suggested a number of modest amendments including requiring the PHRC to notify employers of changes to model policies, require the waiver of penalties for first violations in most cases, and allow employers the flexibility to post their policies on a website available to employees.

Prevailing Wage Expansion (S.B. 841)

Senate Bill 841 is expected to receive a vote in the Senate Labor & Industry Committee this week.

This legislation would expand the PA Prevailing Wage Act to include custom fabrication.

The PA Prevailing Wage Act requires pre-determined wages be paid to employees on public construction projects and can substantially increase project costs. This legislation would expand this requirement into custom fabrication work which will raise costs on taxpayers, potentially divert projects to out-of-state competitors, and create administrative challenges on employers.

Ensuring Childcare Subsidy Eligibility (H.B. 1486)

House Bill 1486 is expected to receive a vote in the House Human Services Committee this week.

This legislation would ensure that families who see wage increases do not immediately see a drastic reduction in childcare subsidy eligibility. This legislation allows for a continuation of childcare support for one year after a change in family income.

Pennsylvania employers continue to suffer from a dramatic workforce shortage. This legislation helps ensure that working-age parents are not deterred from entering the workforce or expanding their working hours out of fear of losing their childcare subsidy.

Rural Population Revitalization (H.B. 2225)

House Bill 2225 is expected to receive a vote in the House Agriculture Committee this week.

This legislation would establish a Rural Population Revitalization Commission to connect policymakers, local officials, and subject experts to examine what programs and services are currently in place and to develop a revitalization plan for rural Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s rural areas are projected to lose 5.8% of their population by 2050. These communities will face increased challenges meeting their workforce needs, providing education opportunities, maintaining access to local healthcare, providing emergency and other critical services, and more.

Appliance Energy Efficiency Standards (H.B. 1615)

House Bill 1615 is expected to receive a vote in the House Consumer Protection, Technology, and Utilities Committee this week.

This legislation would require energy efficiency and water conservation standards for commercial and residential appliances sold in the Commonwealth.

The bill would also authorize the PA Department of Environmental Protection to set energy efficiency and water conservation standards for any appliance used in a commercial or residential setting.  Any appliance not in compliance will be prohibited from being sold or installed.

Overregulating Food Processing Industry (H.B. 2235)

House Bill 2235 is expected to receive a vote in the House Labor & Industry Committee this week.

This legislation proposes numerous mandates and a comprehensive regulatory framework specifically targeting the food processing industry.

This bill would create mandates on the food processing and meatpacking industries addressing a wide range of employment and workplace policies including dictating new employee orientation and training; time off; workplace safety committees; response to a public health emergency; among other areas.  The mandates in this bill are generally duplicative with mandates that exist under other state or federal laws and therefore likely to create compliance complications and expose employers to the penalties and civil actions outlined in the bill.


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.