City of Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act Takes Effect March 15

Pittsburgh Companies Required to Provide Paid Sick Time to Employees
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The City of Pittsburgh ordinance requiring that employers provide paid sick days to their workers takes effect March 15, 2020. Companies within the city limit are given 90 days to comply.

Attorney Frank Botta breaks down the provisions of the new law:

All private employers must provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours an employee works. The sick time leave accrues in whole-hour units, not fractionally. The sick-time hour will not accrue until the employee works up to 35 hours. All employers with 15 or more employees are required to offer up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year, and those employing less than 15 employees 24 hours of paid sick time per year. The purpose of this law is to provide eligible employees with paid sick time to care for themselves or a family member.

Employees must work 35 hours or more in Pittsburgh in a year. Employers must count all employees, even part-time employees. Unused sick time must carry over to the following year.

Employers may only request proof that an employee’s leave was for a covered purpose under the Ordinance if the employee uses sick time for three or more consecutive days. The law requires employers to pay leave time at an employee’s base rate of pay with the same benefits, including health care benefits, an employee receives when working, which cannot be less than the state minimum wage.

Employers are not required to cash out employees’ accrued, unused, paid sick time at the end of their employment, but any unused time must be restored and made available for immediate use if the employee is rehired within six months.

The guidelines create a posting requirement that mirrors the Ordinance’s written notice requirement.  An employer can download the Notice from the City of Pittsburgh website.  The city has published an online model notice and poster. The guidelines recommend that employers choose a reasonable system for providing notice of sick time accrued, including listing updated amounts of sick time available on paystubs or in an online system where employees can access the information.

The Ordinance provides for an anti-discrimination or retaliation protection and explains that employers are prohibited from transferring, demoting, discharging, suspending, reducing hours, or directly threatening such actions when employees exercise protected rights. The guidelines expressly note that the anti-retaliation protections do not prevent an employer from taking reasonable action (discipline) when an employee’s sick time is not for a covered purpose.

The guidelines expand upon a provision in the Ordinance that prohibits employers from counting sick time as an absence under any absence control policy that may lead to discipline or other adverse actions unless an employee does not provide proper notice to use sick leave.

You can find more information at https://pittsburghpa.gov/mayor/paidsickleave

Author:
Frank Botta advises companies in a variety of labor and employment matters. Please contact Frank at (724) 776-8000 or fbotta@lynchlaw-group.com for more information on Pittsburgh’s paid sick time rule or for assistance in understanding the current state of other employment laws, rules and regulations.
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