PITTSBURGH PAID SICK DAYS ACT

March 19, 2020

With the concern surrounding COVID-19, you may have forgotten that as of Sunday, March 15, 2020, employers in the City of Pittsburgh are subject to a new paid sick days law.  Here’s a summary of the major provisions of the law:

Employers with 15 or more employees must give their employees at least one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours per week worked in the City, up to a maximum of 40 hours annually.   Employers can grant more time if they choose.

Employers with fewer than 15 employees may, in the first year (March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021) only, provide unpaid sick days accrued at the rate of at least one hour of sick time for every 35 hours worked in the City, up to a maximum of 24 hours annually.  As of March 15, 2021, employers with fewer than 15 employees must provide paid sick time accrued at the rate of at least one hour of sick time for every 35 hours worked in the City, up to a maximum of 24 hours annually.  Employers can grant more time if they choose.

Sick time begins accruing on the first day of work, but employers can restrict the use (not accrual) during the first 90 days of employment.  After 90 days, the employee must be allowed to use sick time for the reasons outlined in the law.

Employers who provide paid sick days or paid time off (PTO) that may be used for sick days need not provide additional time off if the employer provides at least as much time as provided under the law and allows use of such time as outlined in the law.  Thus, sick days or PTO must be available for the employee’s diagnosis, care (including preventive care), treatment for physical or mental illness or injury; a family member’s diagnosis, care (including preventive care), treatment for physical or mental illness or injury; or closure of a business or school due to a public health emergency or quarantine of the person or family member due to a public health emergency.

Employers may require reasonable notification, and employers may require verification for absences of three days or more.[1]

As of 2021, Employers can comply with the law by either permitting employees to “roll-over” unused sick time from year to year (up to the maximum accrual of either 40 or 24 hours) or “front-load” hours at the beginning of the year.

An important reminder: This law went into effect on March 15, shortly before non-essential businesses were ordered to close.  The law does not require that employers immediately provide paid time off (or unpaid time off for employers with fewer than 15 employees).  Employees earn the time off as they work.  If your employees are not working, they are not earning time off under the law.

If you have questions, please contact me at jnovak@smgglaw.com or at 412-281-5423.

[1] During the COVID-19 crisis, please consider that notification and verification may not be possible.