Pennsylvania Labor Law Breaks
Regarding breaks for workers 18 and older, Pennsylvania falls back on federal legislation. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a meal break be paid if an employer wishes to offer one. As long as the employee is entirely relieved of all obligations, breaks longer than 30 minutes are considered meal intervals and do not require payment. For employees who are under 18 years old, 30 minutes every 5 hours.
Pennsylvania Paid Leave
Pennsylvania law allows employers the opportunity to count paid leave towards the twelve weeks that are given each year. These twelve weeks are unpaid leave for family or medical purposes. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows individuals the right to take such leave and not risk termination from employment.
Paid time off can be considered as a family or medical leave in Pennsylvania but in other states, it is not. Whether or not paid time off is considered part of an individual’s family and medical leave time depends on the company or business policy. A company or business has the right to create certain guidelines for how paid time is to be handled. Pennsylvania law requires that employers provide written policies for their employees about how leave is to be carried out.
The Family and Medical Leave Act covers caring for an elderly parent, caring for an ill child, reasons for hospitalization, or any other medical or psychological need for a prolonged leave. Maternity leave is covered under this act and includes caring for a newborn and bonding with recently adopted children.
While an employee is on leave, an employer has the right to hire a temporary employee for those twelve weeks. This new employee is, however, required to be terminated when the former employee returns. When an employee on leave returns to work, he or she is guaranteed his or her former occupation or one with equal pay and benefit, according to the Family and Medical Leave Act.
There is currently no Pennsylvania law or federal law that requires employers to provide payment for holidays or holidays off. Federal law states that a company or business has the right to be open every day of the year, including Sundays and holidays. Through this employees will be required to work. Companies and businesses do have the right to provide premium pay for working holidays or provide specific holidays off. Federal holidays do not require employers to allow days off. These holidays are for government officials and post offices, not the general population.
Some employers may choose to provide payment for holidays off; however, this payment will not count towards overtime. For instance, if Monday is a holiday, an employee will be paid for the eight hours he or she would have worked. If that employee works more than forty hours that same week, he or she will not be paid overtime because the holiday payment does not count toward time worked.
Employees in Pennsylvania cannot be terminated due to pregnancy or the necessity to take maternity leave. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects these employees but only in businesses where more than fifteen workers are employed. Some employers view pregnancy as a disability and treat these employees as other disabled employees would be treated.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits this behavior and is an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Pregnancy is also protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act. Paternity leave is also an option and allows expectant fathers the right to attend doctor’s appointments and care for their wives.