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Pennsylvania Laws

Discover important state and local employment laws for Pennsylvania.
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Published: Jan 12, 2023

PHRA Expanded to Include Race, Gender, and Religious Creed

PHRA Expanded to Include Race, Gender, and Religious Creed
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Update Effective: TBD

In December, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) regulations were amended to include new and broadened definitions for race, gender, and religious creed. Among the several changes, the PHRA regulations now explicitly protect hairstyles associated with race and ethnicity, interracial marriage and association with interracial marriage, pregnancy and childbirth (and any related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, sex assigned at birth, and outlines a broader definition of religious observance. These expanded definitions should be updated in any harassment and anti-retaliation policies, practices, and training. This update will go into effect after a legislative review and the final regulations are posted in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

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Published: Sep 15, 2022

(Philadelphia) Enacts Commuter Transit Benefits Requirement

(Philadelphia) Enacts Commuter Transit Benefits Requirement
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Update Effective: Dec 31, 2022

Mayor Jim Kenney has signed the “Employee Commuter Transit Benefit Ordinance” into law. Under this new Ordinance, effective December 31, 2022, covered employers in Philadelphia must provide employees with a commuter transit benefit program, which will allow employees to use pre-tax income to cover their commuting costs. A covered employer is defined as an employer with 50 or more “covered employees” in Philadelphia. A “covered employee” is any employee working an average of 30 or more hours per week in Philadelphia for the same employer over the last 12 months. Employers with employees in Philadelphia will want to review their existing commuter benefits program for compliance with the Ordinance.

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Published: Aug 12, 2022

Pennsylvania Adjusts Overtime Law for Salaried, Non-Employees

Pennsylvania Adjusts Overtime Law for Salaried, Non-Employees
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Update Effective: August 5, 2022

In a deviation from the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Pennsylvania has changed the way employers must calculate the regular rate for the purposes of overtime for salaried, non-exempt employees working in the state. Starting on August 5, employers must add up all remuneration paid to the employee in a week and divide the amount by 40 hours. Employers may not make this calculation based on the total number of hours worked. For Justworks customers, timecards will automatically divide the weekly salary for a salaried, non-exempt employee in Pennsylvania by 40 hours per week for the purposes of calculating overtime.

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Published: Apr 14, 2022

Third Round of COVID-19 Paid Leave Reinstated

Third Round of COVID-19 Paid Leave Reinstated
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Update Effective: March 3, 2022

Effective immediately, Philadelphia has reinstated their COVID-19 paid sick leave for the third time during the pandemic, for employers with 25 or more employees. Any employee who works or teleworks for a covered employer within Philadelphia will be eligible for at least 40 hours of sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons, provided that they regularly work at least 40 hours per week. If a covered employee works less than 40 hours per week, they will be eligible for a prorated amount of COVID-19 sick leave. This iteration of Philadelphia’s COVID-19 sick leave will sunset on December 31, 2023.

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Published: Dec 10, 2021

(Philadelphia) Ban on Pre-employment Marijuana Testing

(Philadelphia) Ban on Pre-employment Marijuana Testing
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Update Effective: January 1, 2022

Beginning January 1, 2022, it will be an unlawful discriminatory practice for a Philadelphia employer to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of marijuana as a condition of employment (with some exceptions and for a limited list of certain professions).

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Published: Nov 11, 2021

Allegheny County Enacts Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Allegheny County Enacts Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
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Update Effective: TBD

Allegheny County adopted legislation requiring employers with 26 or more employees to provide paid sick leave, up to 40 hours per year. The law will take effect 90 days after the County provides additional guidance on employer notice obligations. Employers should continue to monitor the County site and revisit their existing sick leave and PTO policies to address any gaps.

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Published: Aug 11, 2021

(Philadelphia): Ban on Pre-employment Marijuana Testing

(Philadelphia): Ban on Pre-employment Marijuana Testing
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Update Effective: January 1, 2022

Beginning January 1, 2022, employers in Philadelphia will no longer be able to lawfully test most job applicants for marijuana use. Effective next year, it will be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of marijuana as a condition of employment (with some exceptions and for a limited list of certain professions).

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Published: Aug 11, 2021

(Pittsburgh): New Temporary Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Time

(Pittsburgh): New Temporary Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Time
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Update Effective: Immediately

This summer, Pittsburgh passed a new Temporary COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. Employers with 50 or more employees must provide covered individuals with up to 80 hours of paid leave for certain COVID-19 related absences, including vaccination. This new law takes the place of the previous emergency paid sick leave ordinance that expired in June and will be in effect until at least June 29, 2022. Paid leave under the ordinance must be provided in addition to that which employers already provide under Pittsburgh’s existing paid leave laws or other employer-provided paid leave.

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Published: Jul 15, 2021

Repealed Overtime Expansion

Repealed Overtime Expansion
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Update Effective: Immediately

Last year, we mentioned that Pennsylvania issued a rule altering some requirements for employees to be considered exempt per the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act. This included increasing the exempt salary threshold in phases. Last month, Pennsylvania repealed the rule.

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Published: Jun 10, 2021

(Philadelphia) Philadelphia Strengthens Workplace Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

(Philadelphia) Philadelphia Strengthens Workplace Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
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Update Effective: May 11, 2021

Last month, Philadelphia added the term “coercive control” to the definition of “domestic abuse” under the city’s sick and safe time ordinance, and the definition of “domestic violence” under the city’s unpaid safe time leave ordinance. Employers subject to these laws must allow eligible employees to take job-protected leave for qualifying reasons, the length of which varies depending on the type of leave and on employer size.

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Published: Apr 14, 2021

(Philadelphia) Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL)

(Philadelphia) Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL)
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Update Effective: March 29, 2021

Philadelphia has a new COVID-19 paid leave ordinance requiring covered employers with at least 50 employees to provide up to 80 hours of additional paid time off to employees who have worked for the employer for at least 90 days. The ordinance will expire “upon the expiration of the Proclamation of Disaster Emergency of the Governor of Pennsylvania related to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

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Published: Feb 11, 2021

(Philadelphia) Amendments to Philadelphia’s Background Screening Ordinances

(Philadelphia) Amendments to Philadelphia’s Background Screening Ordinances
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Update Effective: March 21, 2021 and April 1, 2021

In January, Mayor Kenney amended Philadelphia’s Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards (FCRSS) and Credit Ban Ordinances. Among other changes, effective April 1, 2021, the city’s ban-the-box ordinance (FCRSS) will cover independent contractors and gig economy workers and will also extend to cover current employees rather than simply applicants. Effective March 21, 2021, the city’s Credit Ban Ordinance will eliminate certain exceptions and clarify procedural requirements for an adverse employment decision based on credit history.

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This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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