Pittsburgh Paid Sick Leave Law Coming March 2020

Employment and Labor Alert

(by Stephen Antonelli and Alexandra Farone)

The City of Pittsburgh recently announced that the Paid Sick Days Act is slated to take effect on March 15, 2020. This Act requires employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave based on hours worked. The Act will apply differently to employers of different sizes:

  • For employers with 15 or more employees, eligible workers must be provided one hour of paid leave for every 35 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid leave per year.
  • For employers with less than 15 employees, eligible workers must be provided one hour of unpaid leave for every 35 hours worked, up to a maximum of 24 hours of paid during the first year of enforcement. After one year from the effective date of the Act, these small employers must provide one hour of paid leave for every 35 hours worked, up to a maximum of 24 hours of paid leave per year.
  • Employers based outside of Pittsburgh must begin offering leave under the Act for any of its employees that spend at least 35 hours working inside city limits.

Eligible employees include full- and part-time employees who work within the geographical limits of the City of Pittsburgh. The following types of workers are not eligible for leave under the Act: federal and state employees, independent contractors, construction workers in a collective bargaining unit, and seasonal employees as defined by the Act. Accrued leave may be carried over to the following calendar year unless the employer opts to “frontload” the maximum amount of leave at the beginning of each year. Sick time under the Act may only be used for the employee’s illness, injury, or health care; health-related care for an employee’s family member as defined by the Act; or for certain business or school closures due to public health emergencies.

The Act can be found at Title VI, Chapter 626 of the Pittsburgh Code. Employers should take notice that the Act creates a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation whenever an employer takes an adverse employment action against a person within 90 days of that person (1) filing a complaint alleging violation of the Act, (2) informing any person about an employer’s alleged violation of the Act, (3) cooperating in the investigation or prosecution of a violation of the Act, (4) opposing any practice that is unlawful under the Act, or (5) informing any person of their rights under the Act. An employer may be monetarily fined for willful violations of the Act, starting after one year from the Act’s effective date.

The Paid Sick Days Act was adopted by the Pittsburgh City Council in 2015, but its implementation was delayed due to ongoing litigation. The Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association challenged the Act under the Home Rule Charter Law. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the Act in June 2019 pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Disease Prevention and Control Law.

Babst Calland’s Employment and Labor Group can assist employers that are subject to the Act by helping them evaluate eligible employees and hours worked, and structuring a sick leave policy that complies with the Act. For more information about the Act’s requirements and how Babst Calland can assist you, please contact Stephen A. Antonelli at (412) 394-5668 or  santonelli@babstcalland.com or Alexandra G. Farone (412) 394-6521 or afarone@babstcalland.com.

Click here for PDF.