Philadelphia, PA: Organ Donor and Victims of Domestic Violence Leaves; Ban on Pre-Hire Marijuana Testing


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The City of Philadelphia has enacted a number of new regulations that may impact employers’ leave and pre-hire policies:

Living Donor Protection Act (LDPA)

Effective June 26, 2021, employees covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), who donate all or part of an organ or tissue, must be provided statutory leave. The LDPA indicates that an employee who takes time off to undergo preparation and donation of an organ or tissue, as well as recovery time from the surgery, may be eligible for FMLA leave and associated protections.  Under the LDPA, employees may also use FMLA to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious medical condition who is or will be an organ or tissue donor.

Workplace Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

On May 11, 2021, the city enacted amendments that strengthen workplace protections for victims of domestic violence.  The amendment adds “coercive control” to the definition of domestic abuse under the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance, which provides paid sick and safe time. The amendment also adds “coercive control” to the definition of “domestic violence” under the city’s Entitlement to Leave due to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking Ordinance, which provides unpaid safe time leave.

“Coercive control” includes patterns of threatening, humiliating, or intimidating actions towards an individual to punish or frighten them, and includes behaviors that limit or reduce an individual’s safety, autonomy, bodily integrity, etc. Examples include things like isolating an individual from support networks, controlling a victim’s economic or other resources, or threatening to harm or kill the victim’s children, relatives, or pets, etc.

Both ordinances provide job-protected time off, with the eligibility, amount of leave, and pay status varying between the two ordinances and the employer’s headcount.

  • Under the sick and safe time ordinance, employers of 10 or more must provide up to 50 hours of paid leave. Employers of 9 or fewer must provide the equivalent amount of unpaid leave. Employees may take leave for reasons specified in the ordinance if they or a family member are a victim of domestic violence.
  • Under the unpaid safe time leave, employers of 50 or more must provide employees eight workweeks per 12-month period of unpaid, job-protected time off. Employers of 49 or fewer must allow up to four workweeks per 12-month period. Unlike the sick and safe time ordinance, employees may take time off if they, a family member, or a household member are victims of domestic violence.

Ban on Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing

Come January 1, 2022, employers in the city of Philadelphia will be prohibited from conducting pre-employment marijuana testing as a condition of employment. Philadelphia employers should review their drug and alcohol testing policies in advance of the effective date next year.

The new law excludes select professions, such as law enforcement, any job requiring a commercial driver’s license, any job supervising or caring for children, medical patients, disabled or vulnerable individuals, or any job whose duties could significantly impact the health and safety of members of the public. Similarly, the new law does not apply to drug testing required by federal or state statutes for safety purposes, federal grants and contractors, or valid collective bargaining agreements.

Action Items

  1. Review and revise workplace policies, leave documents, and employee handbooks for compliance with the new leave protections.
  2. Update drug testing procedures to exclude pre-employment marijuana testing.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

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