Proposal Would Prohibit Local Business Mandates
In a 2017 Policy Brief we argued that it was an appropriate time for the General Assembly to expand the language of the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans law in regards to regulating the duties of businesses to all municipalities. A few years earlier Philadelphia and Pittsburgh passed ordinances mandating paid sick leave and just before that Philadelphia enacted an ordinance barring municipalities from asking about salary history.
A bill was introduced this spring and just had a hearing yesterday by a legislative committee. It would preempt a municipality (defined as encompassing all classes of local government from counties, cities, boroughs, townships, towns, home rule and optional plan municipalities, school districts) from passing any mandate on employer practices including wages, hiring and firing, the workplace, and sick and vacation leave. It would not apply to practices relating to employees of the municipality itself.
If the bill were to become law, any mandate enacted on or after January 1, 2015 would be void. That would include the sick leave ordinances in the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (the latter is in front of the state Supreme Court along with another employer-employee mandate). A local government that would enact an ordinance related to employer practices could be sued in a court of law by an aggrieved party under the proposal.