After more than four years of legal challenges, the city of Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act becomes effective March 15, 2020. “The Ordinance guarantees an opportunity for covered employees to acquire paid sick time hours,” stated the Office of the Mayor’s website. The Act applies to all full-time and part-time employees who work in Pittsburgh except for state and federal employees, members of a construction union covered by a collective bargaining agreement, and seasonal employees who are notified in writing when they are hired that they will work no more than 16 weeks during the calendar year. For coverage to apply, employees must log at least 35 hours or more in Pittsburgh per year.

Employers with a paid leave policy, such as a paid time off policy, are not required to provide additional sick time if the paid leave provided is sufficient to meet the Act’s accrual requirements. The guidelines clarify that if employers offer paid leave that is more generous than what the law requires, the amount of leave that exceeds what the law requires is not subject to the Ordinance. Employers who do not currently extend any paid leave to part-time employees who perform services in the City will need to develop a policy extending some measure of paid leave to its part-time employees.

Sick Time Accrual

Sick time accrual depends on the number of employees working for the employer:

  • Employers with 15 or more employees: Employees accrue at least one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked in Pittsburgh, up to 40 hours per calendar year (which can be any 12-month period designated by the employer).
  • Employers with fewer than 15 employees: Employees accrue at least one hour of sick time for every 35 hours worked in Pittsburgh, up to 24 hours per calendar year. For the first year following the Act’s effective date, sick time may be unpaid. Thereafter, sick time must be paid.

At their discretion, employers may frontload or otherwise advance sick time prior to its accrual. Exempt employees will be assumed to work 40 hours per week unless they are regularly scheduled to work fewer than 40 hours. Employers may impose a 90-day waiting period, during which employees will accrue sick time but cannot use it.

Employer Preparation

Employers can prepare for the Ides of March by:

  • Reviewing existing policies to determine whether current sick leave or other paid time off policies meet or exceed all of the Act’s requirements, including notice mandates. If you do not currently provide paid sick leave or PTO, promptly develop and implement a compliant leave policy.
  • Developing or reviewing current recordkeeping practices to ensure that they satisfy the Act’s mandates.
  • Training managers on the Act’s requirements.
  • Ensuring that the required notice is posted and provided to employees by March 15, 2020, a link to which is provided: https://apps.pittsburghpa.gov/redtail/images/8014_NOTICE_PAID_SICK_FINAL_12-16-19_-_Rev._12-17-19.pdf