Pittsburgh Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Effective 3/15/20

The Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office issued guidelines and draft notice forms that will implement the 2015 Paid Sick Days Act as of March 15. Employees will earn 1 hour of paid sick leave per 35 hours worked.

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In late December, Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office of Equity released guidelines and a draft notice that will make the 2015 Paid Sick Days Act effective as of March 15, 2020. The ordinance was delayed due to a court challenge, but the city won approval by the State Supreme Court in July of 2019.

Ordinance Details

  • Covered employees: Employees working 35 hours or more within the within the geographic boundaries of the city in a calendar year. The ordinance excludes independent contractors, state or federal employees, collectively bargained construction employees and seasonal employees.
  • Accrual (rate, cap and start date): Employees will earn 1 hour of paid sick leave (PSL) per every 35 hours worked in one-hour increments. Employees can accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Leave will begin accruing as of March 15, 2020.
  • Carryover and frontloading: Accrued time will carry over to the following year, subject to the cap. Employers can frontload up to 40 hours at the beginning of the year and avoid carryover.
  • Waiting period: Employees may use accrued PSL after 90 days of employment.
  • Employee uses of PSL: Employees may use accrued paid sick leave for self-care or care for a family member (defined broadly) for a physical or mental illness, closure of employees’ place of business due to a public health emergency and care for a child whose school is closed for a public health emergency.
  • Employee use increments: Employees may use PSL in the smaller of hourly or the smallest increment that the employer’s payroll system uses to account for other absences or use of other time.
  • Advanced employee notice & employer verification: Employers are permitted to maintain reasonable advanced notice policies stating how far in advance of shift employees must provide oral notification. Employers may not require employees to provide reasonable documentation unless an employee is absent for 3 or more consecutive workdays.
  • Rehired employees: Employers must reinstate accrued PSL to employees who are rehired within 6 months of separation of employment. Instead at the separation of employment, employers may choose to cash out employees for unused accrued PSL.
  • Notification to employees of paid sick time balances: The city recommends that employers choose a reasonable method for providing notification of available PSL accrual. The rules suggest either on employees’ paystubs or in an “online system” where employees can access the information.
  • Notice and postings: Employers must display a sign at each worksite (English, Spanish and other primary languages) detailing employee rights under the ordinance. The draft notice form is available here.
  • Deemed compliance: Employers with existing policies meeting or exceeding Pittsburgh’s ordinance are not required to provide additional sick time. 

Next Steps

We recommend that employers with employees in Pittsburgh:

  • Review current leave policies to determine whether changes to leave accruals or other benefit policies are necessary;
  • Work with HR, payroll, and any third-party vendors to determine what steps, if any, are needed to comply by March 15; and
  • Stay up to date on implementing guidance from Pittsburgh. We will update our members on new developments.

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