Following a prolonged legal challenge brought by a group of Pittsburgh businesses, Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave ordinance will finally take effect on March 15, 2020.
As we previously reported, in August 2015, the City of Pittsburgh passed the Paid Sick Days Act (the “Act”) which would have required most employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave to care for the employee’s or their family member’s illness or injury, or in the event of certain specified public health emergencies. Shortly after the Act was approved, the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, along with a group of Pittsburgh businesses, filed a lawsuit arguing that the Act imposed impermissible obligations on employers under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Act and the State Constitution. In July 2019, however, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the businesses’ arguments and upheld the Act.
In the wake of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision, the City of Pittsburgh Law Department recently released guidelines for administering the Act, which requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year while employers with fewer than 15 employees may provide up to 24 hours of unpaid sick time during the first year following the Act’s effective date. Beginning March 15, 2021, employers with fewer than 15 employees must provide up to 24 hours of paid sick leave per year.
Employees are eligible to accrue one hour of sick time for every 35 hours worked within the geographic boundaries of Pittsburgh. The guidelines clarify that an employee who works for an employer outside of Pittsburgh but who performs work within the geographic boundaries of the city is a covered employee once that employee performs at least 35 hours of work within Pittsburgh in a calendar year. For a detailed discussion of the Act’s requirements, refer to our previous post.
Employers with operations in Pittsburgh should review and, where necessary, update their current sick leave policies and practices in advance of the law’s effective date. Covered employers must also provide written notice of the Act’s requirements to employees and post an agency approved notice in a conspicuous and accessible location where any of their employees work. The notice must be posted in English, Spanish and any other primary languages of the employees at the particular workplace.
We will continue to report on any further developments with regard to this law and other paid leave laws nationwide.