CITY OF PITTSBURGH'S PAID SICK DAYS ACT

After being introduced almost five years ago, those who work in the City of Pittsburgh now have access to paid sick days!

The City of Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act officially went into effect on March 15, 2020. The Ordinance guarantees an opportunity for covered employees to acquire paid sick time hours. This law is administered by the City of Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office of Equity. As businesses begin slowly reopening and workers return to their places of employment, many now have the opportunity to start accruing paid sick time.

WHAT IS THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH PAID SICK DAYS ACT?

The Paid Sick Days Act is an ordinance in the City of Pittsburgh that enhances public health by ensuring that employees are guaranteed the opportunity to receive time off that may be used for employee health care or the health care of a family member.

HOW MUCH PAID SICK TIME DO I GET?

Employees who work for an employer with 15 or more employees shall accrue a minimum of 1 hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked unless the employer provides a faster accrual rate. These employees shall be permitted to accrue no more than 40 hours of paid sick time in a calendar year, unless the employer designates a higher amount.

WHAT IF I WORK FOR A SMALLER BUSINESS (LESS THAN 15 EMPLOYEES)?

Employees who work for an employer with less than 15 employees shall accrue a minimum of 1 hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked unless the employer provides a faster accrual rate. During the first year of the ordinance, employees shall be permitted to accrue no more than 24 hours of UNPAID sick time in a calendar year, unless the employer designates a higher amount. After the first year, these employees then will be able to accrue no more than 24 hours of PAID sick time in a calendar year, unless the employer designates a higher amount.

WHEN WILL MY HOURS WORKED START COUNTING TOWARDS ACCRUAL OF PAID SICK TIME?

Accrual of paid sick time started on March 15, 2020. Hours worked prior do not count towards accrual of paid sick time.

CAN MY EMPLOYER GIVE ME MORE PAID SICK TIME THAN REQUIRED BY THE LAW?

Yes. If your employer tells you that they have to take away other paid time off such as vacation time to comply with the ordinance, that is not true. If you are told this, feel free to reach out to us and we can assist you.

CAN EMPLOYERS FRONT-LOAD MY PAID SICK TIME RATHER THAN HAVING ME ACCRUE TIME BASED ON HOURS WORKED?

Yes.

IS MY EMPLOYER REQUIRED TO PAY OUT UNUSED PAID SICK TIME IF I LEAVE MY JOB?

No. Employers are not required to pay out unused sick time at the end of the employment relationship regardless of who ends the relationship or why.

WHEN CAN I START USING MY PAID SICK TIME?

If the employer is using the accrual method of providing paid sick time (as opposed to front-loading), the employee will have no paid sick time available on March 15, 2020, even if the employee is eligible to begin usage on March 15, 2020. If the employer is instead front-loading paid sick time, then the employee (who has been employed for at least 90 calendar days) would be able to use their paid sick time beginning March 15, 2020.

I JUST STARTED A NEW JOB WITH A NEW EMPLOYER. WHEN CAN I START USING MY ACCRUED PAID SICK TIME?

Employees can start to use their accrued paid sick time on the 90th calendar day following the start of their employment.

WHO COUNTS AS A “FAMILY MEMBER” WHEN IT COMES TO TAKING PAID SICK TIME OFF TO CARE FOR THEM?

A family member is defined as: (1) A biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild or legal ward, a child of a domestic partner, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis; (2) A biological, foster, adoptive, or step-parent, or legal guardian of an employee or an employee's spouse or domestic partner or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child; (3) A person to whom the employee is legally married under the laws of any State; (4) A grandparent or spouse or domestic partner of a grandparent; (5) A grandchild; (6) A biological, foster, or adopted sibling; (7) A domestic partner; (8) Any individual for whom the employee has received oral permission from the employer to care for at the time of the employee's request to make use of Sick Time.

MY EMPLOYER ALREADY PROVIDES PAID SICK DAYS, WILL THEY BE AFFECTED?

Your employer can still maintain their current paid sick leave policy as long as it meets or exceeds the requirements of the Paid Sick Days Act.

HOW IS MY EMPLOYER REQUIRED TO KEEP TRACK OF MY ACCRUED PAID SICK TIME?

There is no specific record keeping method required by the Paid Sick Days Act. However, employers are required to retain records documenting hours worked by employees and paid sick time taken by employees for a period of two years. It is recommended that employers choose a reasonable system for providing notification of accrued paid sick time, including listing updated amounts of paid sick time available on pay stubs or in an online system where employees can access the information. If your employer fails to properly maintain records, they can be penalized. If you have issues with access to your paid sick time and/or believe they are not properly recording paid sick time for their employees, you can file a complaint. If you are unsure, feel free to reach out to us and we can assist you in making that determination.

DOES MY UNUSED PAID SICK TIME CARRY OVER INTO A NEW YEAR?

If an employee accrues their maximum amount of paid sick time and it goes unused into the new year, they can keep that time. However, they will not accrue any more paid sick time because they have already hit their cap for the year. For example, if an employee accrues 40 hours of paid sick time in a calendar year and uses 20 hours of it, the other 20 hours will carry over into the new year and they can accrue an additional 20 hours to meet the 40 hour maximum limit.

ARE UNDOCUMENTED EMPLOYEES COVERED BY THE PAID SICK DAYS ACT?

Yes. The Paid Sick Days Act does not make a distinction between documented and undocumented employees.

WILL I BE PAID THE SAME RATE WHEN I USE MY PAID SICK TIME?

Yes. According to the Paid Sick Days Act, paid sick time is considered to be: “[t]ime that is compensated at the same base rate of pay, and with the same benefits, including health care benefits, as an employee would have earned at the time of their use of the paid sick time.”

I AM A TIPPED WORKER AND ONLY GET PAID $2.83 AN HOUR? WHAT WILL MY PAID SICK TIME LOOK LIKE?

According to the Paid Sick Days Act, tipped employees shall be compensated for any accrued paid sick time at a rate not less than the minimum hourly rate for hours worked, as required under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act of 1968. Rate of pay shall be the base rate of pay and does not include lost tips or commissions.