Pennsylvania Leave Laws

This post will guide you through employee leave laws for businesses and workers located in the state of Pennsylvania.

Follow this guide to understand employers’ obligations for vacation time, paid time off (PTO), sick leave, parental leave, bereavement and more, along with state holidays observed in Pennsylvania.

This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.

Paid or unpaid vacation time is not required by law in Pennsylvania.

Are Use It or Lose It Polices Legal in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law does not specifically mention Use It or Lose It policies, suggesting employers are free to enforce such a policy for vacation time. Employers are recommended to make mention of this in company policy or employment contracts to be safe.

Use It or Lose It leave policies mean that any leave not used at the end of the year is forfeited, and not carried over to the following year. Learn more about Use It or Lose It policies here.

PTO Payout Laws in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law does not require employers to pay out unused PTO upon separation of employment (voluntary or otherwise), unless promised in an employee’s contract.

Read More: PTO Payout Laws by State

Sick Leave in Pennsylvania

Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave by Pennsylvania state law.

Besides any state laws or provisions written into employment contracts, employers in Pennsylvania must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which entitles eligible employees the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health conditions, or to care for spouses, children or parents with a serious health condition.

Pennsylvania State Holidays

The following official state holidays are observed in Pennsylvania:

January 1New Year’s Day
3rd Monday in JanuaryMartin Luther King, Jr. Day
3rd Monday in FebruaryPresidents Day
Last Monday in MayMemorial Day
June 19Juneteenth
July 4Independence Day
1st Monday in SeptemberLabor Day
2nd Monday in OctoberColumbus Day
November 11Veterans Day
4th Thursday in NovemberThanksgiving
Day after ThanksgivingThe Day after Thanksgiving
December 25Christmas
Any holidays that fall on a Saturday are observed on the previous Friday, while any holidays that fall on a Sunday are observed on the following Monday.

There is no requirement to allow employees a paid or unpaid day off for state holidays, and employees required to work on state holidays are not legally entitled to extra compensation (such as higher pay or a compensatory day off), unless promised in their employment contract.

Maternity Leave in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania state law does not mandate paid or unpaid maternity leave.

The FMLA does apply, however, entitling new mothers to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth of a new child, as well as the placement of a new adoption or foster.

Paternity Leave in Pennsylvania

Paternity leave is not covered by law either, but fathers have the same right to unpaid, job-protected leave of up to 12 weeks for the birth of their child, or a new adoption or fostered child.

Bereavement Leave in Pennsylvania

There is no legal requirement to provide bereavement leave in Pennsylvania.

Other Leave Types

Jury Duty Leave

Employers do not have to provide paid leave for jury duty.

Voting Leave

Employers do not have to provide paid or unpaid leave to allow employees to vote.

Military Leave

Active military members, including members of the Pennsylvania National Guard, Armed Forces reserves, and employees who are recruited or volunteer to serve during a time of war or crisis are eligible for unpaid leave and reinstatement upon return from service.

Federal Law (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)) applies in Pennsylvania, which states that military service members receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service, and upon returning, must be reinstated to the same position (or an equivalent position) as they had before their leave.

Anything not covered in Pennsylvania state leave laws is up to the discretion of the employer, such as whether or not to provide paid sick leave or PTO, or whether PTO rolls over from year to year.

However, if any benefits are laid out in an employee’s contract or company policy, employers must comply with what has been agreed in that document.

For example, if an employee’s contract states that they are to receive 12 days of PTO each year, the employer is legally required to provide this, even though paid time off is not required by state law.

Official Resources

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