The City of Pittsburgh recently became the second city in Pennsylvania to enact a paid sick leave law, with Mayor William Peduto signing the Paid Sick Days Act into law on August 13, 2015.  While the Act is facing legal challenges, Pittsburgh’s City Controller recently posted notice  that the Act is effective January 11, 2016.  The City Controller also posted to the city’s website two documents employers are required to post where employees can easily read them.

The Act is applicable to employers situated in or doing business in the City of Pittsburgh with one or more employee, and requires those employers to provide paid sick time to both full-time and part-time employees.  Similar to the Philadelphia law, the Act exempts several categories of workers from the term “employee,” including independent contractors, state and federal employees, members of construction unions covered by a collective bargaining unit, and seasonal employees.

A few key provisions of the law:

  • Employees of employers with 15 or more employees accrue a minimum of 1 hour of paid sick time per 35 hours worked in Pittsburgh, up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year, unless the individual employer designates a faster accrual rate or higher amount.
  • Employees of employers with fewer than 15 employees also accrue a minimum of 1 hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked in Pittsburgh, unless a faster accrual rate is designated by the employer, accruing up to 24 hours of unpaid sick time during the first year in which the Paid Sick Leave Act is effective and 24 hours of paid sick time thereafter, unless the individual employer designates a higher amount.
  • Accrual begins on the effective date of the Act for those currently employed, and upon commencement of employment for new employees. Employees can begin to use their accrued time beginning on the 90th calendar day following the commencement of employment.
  • Employees may use sick time in the smaller of hourly increments or the smallest increment that the employer’s payroll system uses to account for absences or use of other time.
  • Accrued time shall carry over to the next calendar year (as defined in the Act) unless at least the maximum amount of paid sick time is provided at the beginning of each calendar year.
  • Employers with collective bargaining agreements or paid leave policies which meet the Act’s paid leave accrual requirements and make such leave available for use in accordance with the purposes and conditions of the Act need not provide additional sick time.
  • Employers are not required to pay out any accrued but unused paid sick time upon the end of employment, and are not required to compensate employees for lost wages or commissions as a result of using paid sick time.
  • Sick time can be used to care for the employee’s or employee’s family member’s mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; need for medical diagnosis, care or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition, or need for preventative medical care; when an employee’s place of business is closed or to care for a child when the child’s school or place of care is closed by order of a public health official due to a public health emergency; or to care for a family member whose presence in the community jeopardizes public health due to exposure to a communicable disease, as determined by health authorities.
  • Retaliation is prohibited, and employers must provide written notice to employees that retaliation is prohibited and that employees may file a complaint with the designated agency if they are retaliated against or denied sick time as required by the Act.
  • Employers must provide written notice that employees are entitled to sick time and the amount of sick time, as well as the terms of use guaranteed by the Act.

Although the Act is facing legal challenges, companies with operations in Pittsburgh should consider reviewing their current sick and paid leave policies to ensure they are compliant when the Act goes into effect and should stay tuned for further updates.