The Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act – Just In Time For The Coronavirus

The Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act went into effect on March 15, 2020, mandating the payment of sick time for employees who work in the City of Pittsburgh.

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If you are an employer in the City of Pittsburgh, you will need to review your policies and make necessary updates to ensure that you are compliant with this new regulation.

This regulation was originally proposed over four years ago but, due to legal challenges, it was only recently approved for implementation by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court – and scheduled to take effect on March 15, 2020 – just in time for the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and associated business closings.

The new law requires employers in Pittsburgh to provide certain paid time off benefits to employees who work at least 35 hours within the geographic boundaries of the City of Pittsburgh in any calendar year. The law does not extend to independent contractors, state or federal employees, seasonal employees, or any member of a construction union who has a collective bargaining unit.

Companies with 15 or more employees are required to pay up to 40 hours of paid sick time. Those with fewer than 15 employees are required to pay up to 24 hours of paid sick time.

The law mandates specific accrual rates for these benefits. Specifically, employees must accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours or 24 hours, depending on the size of the company.

This paid time off is accrued in one-hour increments and may be used in either hourly increments or the smallest increment that the employers’ payroll system uses to account for absences. In other words, if the employer’s current policies only allow for time off to be taken in full-day or half-day increments, these paid sick days must be allowed to be taken in one-hour increments.

Any accrued and unused paid sick time under the Act must be carried over from one calendar year to the next, up to the applicable cap. Notably, the law does not require that the employer pay out any accrued and unused paid sick time at the time of termination or resignation.

If a company has a paid leave policy already in place, the benefits of which are at least as generous as the provisions of the new law, it is not required to provide any additional paid sick time.

It is recommended that employers impacted by the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act provide notification to employees of the amount of sick time that has accrued, perhaps on paystubs or other regular payroll statements.

Additionally, employers are required to provide a Notice to employees of their rights to paid sick time under the Act. A copy of the Notice can be found at http://paidsickleave.pittsburghpa.gov.

If you need assistance in drafting a new policy or reviewing your existing policies to ensure compliance with the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act, please contact Delia Bouwers Bianchin at (724) 776-8000 or dbianchin@lynchlaw-group.com.

Visit our COVID-19 Hub for additional information from our team to assist your business in responding to the COVID-19 crisis:

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