Pennsylvania Public Sector

In our original post, we reviewed the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) approval of proposed new regulations by Governor Tom Wolf’s administration concerning tipped employees.

Since then, the Pennsylvania Attorney General completed its review and approved the regulation. The regulation will go into effect on August 5, 2022. Below is a review of

On June 30, 2012, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed into law Senate Bill 637 which will require public works contractors and subcontractors subject to the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act (essentially, construction projects where the estimated cost is at least $25,000)  to use  E-Verify to confirm that their employees are legally permitted to work in the United States.  Violators of the new law are subject to progressive penalties including

The General Assembly has passed three bills amending the civil service provisions of the First Class Township Code, Borough Code and Third Class City Code. Gov. Tom Corbett has signed into law the amendments to the First Class Township and Third Class City Codes, and is expected to sign the amendment to the Borough Code. 

This post was also written by Bailey E. Axe and Joseph C. Rudolf.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed House Bill No. 797 into law Thursday, July 7, amending the Workers’ Compensation Act (“WCA”) to include coverage to firefighters suffering from a cancer caused by exposure to certain known carcinogens. Notably, these new provisions allow

On April 13, 2011, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed a new city ordinance that bans Philadelphia employers from asking applicants about their convictions during the initial phases of the hiring process and precludes them from ever asking about arrests which failed to result in a conviction. Due to become effective on July 12, 2011, the

This post was also written by Scott E. Blissman.

Over the past few weeks, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell signed a series of bills into law (Acts 76, 77, 78, 91 and 92) that amended the civil service provisions of the First Class Township Code, Borough Code and Third Class City Code (as well as the civil service provisions applicable to towns). All of these amendments are effective immediately and require municipal civil service commissions to revise their civil service rules to ensure compliance before a new hiring or promotional testing cycle has been initiated for police officers and paid firefighters.

Each of these new civil service amendments specifies that appointments and promotions made prior to the effective date of each act are unaffected by the new legislation. However, the viability of any current eligibility list for future hirings and promotions, as well as the propriety of completing hiring or promotional screening that has already commenced rather than starting over after adoption of the amendments, should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The critical question is whether the existing civil service rules used in creating the current eligibility list or used for initiating the new hiring or promotional process incorporate the new mandatory provisions. Specifically, do the municipality’s current civil service rules require a physical agility test as well as a medical and psychological examination after issuance of a conditional offer of employment? If the answer is yes, then the municipality may well be able to continue with its current process and make selections from an existing eligibility list. If the answer is no, then the municipality will need to incorporate the amendments into its civil service rules and restart the process under the newly adopted rules.Continue Reading Pennsylvania Governor Signs Amendments to the Civil Service Laws

Tucked away in Act 44 of 2009, landmark legislation intended to relieve the significant financial strain on municipalities throughout Pennsylvania, in particular Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the General Assembly imposed a set of best-practices standards on every municipal pension plan in the Commonwealth. Act 44 contains sweeping changes for the use of professionals by municipal pension systems by imposing substantial selection procedures and disclosure requirements.  Chapter 7-A of Act 44 mandates an open competitive selection process for any and all professional services contracts when the municipal pension system is a party. Basically, any entity receiving money from a municipal pension fund, such as actuaries, fund custodians, fund managers, plan advisors and other professional consultants, going forward, may be retained only after being selected through a competitive process. Furthermore, under Act 44, the “most qualified” bidder must be selected. Finally, Act 44 contains conflict-of-interest standards, restrictions on political contributions, and annual disclosure requirements.

This article explains the mandates of the new Act and provides a checklist of tasks necessary for compliance by a municipality.Continue Reading Best-Practices Standards Imposed on Pennsylvania Municipal Pension Systems

This post was also written by Miriam S. Edelstein.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (“PHRC”) has proposed “Policy Guidance” stating that it intends to treat an employer’s rejection of an African-American or Hispanic applicant because of his or her criminal record as presumptive evidence that the employer is discriminating against the applicant in violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”).

The proposed Policy Guidance potentially presents significant new hurdles for Pennsylvania employers as they attempt to strike the correct balance between instituting security-minded and non-discriminatory hiring practices. This is particularly critical in fields that are highly regulated by federal, state and administrative bodies. Employers in regulated industries are already bound by a myriad of statutory, regulatory and court authority that includes prohibitions against employing individuals convicted of specific offenses in certain occupations.

The PHRC is seeking public comments regarding the proposed Policy Guidance by January 26, 2010, so that it can consider them before deciding whether to adopt the final Policy Guidance on February 22, 2010. A copy of the proposed Policy Guidance can be found on the PHRC’s website,  and includes instructions for submitting comments. Please read on for further information regarding the potential issues the proposed Policy Guidance raises for Pennsylvania employers, and suggestions of points to include if you choose to submit comments to the PHRC.Continue Reading Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Proposes Policy Guidance That Would Presume Employers Engage in Disparate Impact Discrimination When They Use Criminal History Information


On October 9, 2009, Gov. Rendell signed into law Act 51 of 2009 (“Act 51”), which removed the 100 percent Killed-in-Service benefit from Act 600 and created a similar but not identical benefit under the Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefits Act (“Death Benefits Act”), 53 P.S. § 891 et seq. While the Death Benefits Act creates a 100 percent survivor benefit for firefighters, ambulance service or rescue squad members, and police officers who die in the line of duty, only borough and township police officers, under Act 600, previously had a Killed-in-Service benefit guaranteed by state pension law. This article is limited to the interplay between Act 600 and Act 51. While a cursory reading of the new law suggests a limited change to the existing benefit, Act 51 significantly impacts the current benefit available to surviving spouses and creates challenges for municipal employers in eliminating the now-illegal benefit from an Act 600 Pension Plan. This brief analysis reviews the Act 600 survivor benefits available prior to the passage of Act 51, the new benefit created by Act 51, and identifies the issues that must be addressed in order to transition safely to the new Act 51 benefit.Continue Reading In Passing Act 51, the Commonwealth Assumes the Financial Burden of the Act 600 Killed-in-Service Benefit