ALLEGHENY COUNTY EMPLOYERS MUST PROVIDE PAID SICK LEAVE

September 16, 2021

A few years ago, employers in Pittsburgh became subject to the City’s paid sick leave ordinance.  Now, all employers with 26 or more employees are covered by a local paid sick leave law.  On September 14, the Allegheny County Council ratified the amendment to the Allegheny County Health Department Rules and Regulations, Article XXIV, providing for paid sick leave.

Similar to the Pittsburgh ordinance, employees of covered employers must earn at least one (1) hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours, worked within Allegheny County, up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year.  Of course, covered employers may provide more paid sick time or allow employees to earn such time faster.  Exempt employees are assumed to work 40 hours per week unless their normal workweek is less than 40 hours.  New employees begin accruing paid sick time upon beginning work and can use the time after 90 days of work.  Current employees begin accruing time as of the effective date of the ordinance.  (The effective date will be 90 days after the designated county agency makes employer notice material available through the county website.)  If employees’ paid sick time is “front loaded,” i.e., 40 hours is available every January 1, then paid sick time need not be carried over year to year.  If less than 40 hours is provided every January 1, then employees must be permitted to carryover time up to a maximum 40 hours.  Employers that provide paid leave (e.g., paid time off) in at least the same amount for use as paid sick leave need not provide additional leave under this ordinance.

Also similar to Pittsburgh’s ordinance, paid sick time is to be used for an employee’s or family member’s illness, injury or health condition; need for diagnosis, care, treatment or preventive care; closure of the employee’s place of business due to a public health emergency; the employee’s need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed due to a public health emergency; or care for a family member when that the family member’s presence in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of the family member’s exposure to a communicable disease.

As with most ordinances, there are a number of other provisions including requirements regarding notice, excuses, and scheduling. The full text of the Health Department’s applicable rules and regulations as well as Allegheny County’s ratification of the same is available here, but if you have questions, please contact me at jnovak@smgglaw.com.