Pennsylvania Leave Laws

January 8th 2024

Employers and employees in Pennsylvania must have a clear understanding of leave laws to ensure the mutual protection of the workforce and the exercise of entitled benefits.

This article will explore the legal responsibilities concerning leave in Pennsylvania and the various categories of leave that employees can use.

It is important to recognize that the specific regulations applicable to leave may vary for employers in the public and private sectors.

In Pennsylvania, leave days are categorized into two distinct groups: mandatory and non-mandatory, each encompassing specific guidelines and requirements.

This Article Covers

Pennsylvania Required Leave
Pennsylvania Non-Required Leave

Pennsylvania Required Leave

In Pennsylvania, there are certain types of leave that are mandated by law, and employees have the privilege to request and take such leave without experiencing any adverse repercussions from their employer. These mandated leave types include:

1. Family and Medical Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees who have been employed by the same employer for a minimum of 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours during that 12-month period.
  • Duration: Up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For medical emergencies, giving birth and caring for a newborn child, adopting or fostering a child, experiencing a health condition that makes it impossible to work, and caring for a family member with a severe health condition.

2. Jury Service Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees called for jury duty.
    Employers may ask their employees to utilize their available vacation time and dictate whether the leave is paid for.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the jury service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To serve on a jury when summoned for jury duty.

3. Military Service Leave

  • Eligibility: All members of the uniformed services.
    Employees may retain all of their benefits and seniority level and be reinstated to their previous position if the employee informs their employer of their military service, the total length of active military service is less than 5 years, the discharge from military service is not dishonorable or disqualifying and the employee returns to work in a timely manner.
  • Duration: The scheduled duration of duty. (unpaid)
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For military deployment.

4. Crime Victims Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees who are called for as a witness.
  • Duration: The scheduled and extended duration of the duty. (unpaid)
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To participate, be present, and/or give testimony in the court preparation or proceedings for a criminal case as a victim or witness.

5. Emergency Response Leave

  • Eligibility: Pennsylvania state employees who are a volunteer member of a fire department or emergency medical service.
    Employees must give a statement from the Chief Executive Officer of the volunteer services organization, confirming that they’ve responded to the emergency and stating the time of the emergency call.
  • Duration: The scheduled duration of the emergency response.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To respond to an emergency response call.

6. Sick Leave

  • Eligibility: Public employees in Pennsylvania who have worked for a minimum of 30 days.
  • Duration: Up to 5 accrued days per calendar year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For personal illness or the illness of a family member.

7. Bereavement Leave

  • Eligibility: Pennsylvania state employees.
  • Duration: 3 days of paid leave.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: In the event of a death of an immediate family member.

8. Vacation and Holiday Leave

  • Eligibility: Pennsylvania state employees.
  • Duration:
    Paid leave on all national holidays for all state employees.
    Accumulated vacation leave at varying rates for full-time state employees based on the number of years they have served:
    For the first 3 years of service, vacation time is accrued at a rate of 4.24% of regular hours paid, up to 11 days per year.
    Between 3 and 15 years of service, vacation time is accrued at a rate of 7.32% of regular hours paid, up to 19 days per year.
    After 15 years of service, vacation time is accrued at a rate of 9.24% of regular hours paid, up to 24 days per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For personal time off.

Here is a table of official state holidays observed in Pennsylvania:

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Third Monday in January
Presidents’ Day Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Day after Thanksgiving Fourth Friday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

If you want to know more about the entitlements of employees in Pennsylvania, you can read our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Pennsylvania, and your rights as an hourly employee in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Non-Required Leave

Employers in Pennsylvania are not legally required to provide particular types of leave to their employees, unless outlined in the agreement between an employer and an employee. The following leave options are not mandated by law:

1. Sick Leave (Private Employees)

Private employers in Pennsylvania are not required by any regulations to offer sick leave to their employees.

2. Bereavement Leave (Private Employees)

In Pennsylvania, private employers are not mandated to offer bereavement leave to their employees.

3. Vacation and Holiday Leave (Private Employees)

Unless it is specified in their contract, private sector employees in Pennsylvania are not eligible for vacation or holiday leave.

4. Voting Leave

Employers in Pennsylvania are not obligated to offer voting time off to their employees.

Learn more about Pennsylvania Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.