In a 4-3 decision last summer, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the City of Pittsburgh may go ahead with the Paid Sick Days Act. While the legislation was met with plenty of opposition, namely by the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, the bill was signed into law and will go into effect on March 15, 2020.
While much of the law is still a bit murky, it will require many businesses operating within Pittsburgh city limits to bring their paid sick leave policy into compliance.
Who Will the Paid Sick Days Act Affect?
The Paid Sick Days act only affects businesses and organizations operating within the City of Pittsburgh, although there are some caveats. For example, employees who spend at least 35 hours working within the city are eligible to accrue sick time. This might include taxi drivers, delivery people, or those attending frequent meetings within Pittsburgh. They will all be entitled to sick pay, even if your organization does not have a physical presence within city limits.
The new law covers a wide range of businesses and organizations, given employees have a physical presence in Pittsburgh or perform work within the city. However, federal employees, seasonal workers, independent contractors, and members of a construction union are not covered by the law.
Provisions of the Paid Sick Days Act
There’s quite a lot to unpack regarding the new laws, and it’s worth reading it in full. You can find the official guidelines on the City of Pittsburgh’s website. However, let’s break down some of the high points of the Paid Sick Days Act:
- Employees will accrue one hour of sick pay for every 35 hours worked within city limits or under the parameters mentioned above. Organizations with 1 to 14 employees can cap this amount at 24 hours, while organizations with 15 or more employees can cap the accrual at 40 hours. If your organization already offers a paid leave policy that meets or exceeds these provisions, you don’t need to change anything.
- Employers must provide notice to the updated policies. This is why the law will not go into effect until March of this year. Employers must communicate how much sick leave employees are entitled to, retaliation against employees who use sick time is prohibited and employees have the right to file complaints with the city if earned sick leave is denied.
- Your organization is entitled to require documentation from employees to ensure paid sick time is being used for its intended purpose. However, employers may only require this documentation if 3 or more days are taken consecutively.
- Employees may use their accrued paid sick time for their own or a family member’s illness or care. Family members are defined as spouses/domestic partners, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren. Employees may begin using their paid sick time 90 days from their hiring date.
- The law only requires employees to verbally request use of their accrued sick time. However, your organization may set its own policy regarding how far in advance these requests must be made. If your organization does not have a policy in place, the law only requires an employee to verbally request use one hour prior to the beginning of their shift.
These are just some of the key provisions within the Paid Sick Days Act. For a deeper dive, visit our friends at SHRM.
Paid Sick Time for Employees with Special Circumstances.
The Paid Sick Days Act applies to most full-time workers within the city of Pittsburgh, however there are a few special circumstances for other employees.
- Part-Time Employees: Essentially, the same rules apply. However, because part-time employees work fewer hours, they will accrue their paid sick time more slowly than their full-time counterparts. The formula still applies: 1 hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked.
- Employees Making Minimum Wage Against Tips: One of the biggest concerns about the new law concerned tipped workers such as servers. Minimum wage for these employees in Pennsylvania is $2.83, plus tips with employers making up the difference if employees do not reach the standard minimum wage of $7.25. Employees obviously don’t have the opportunity to collect tips while using paid sick time, so under the stipulations of the paid sick time act, these employees would be compensated at the standard minimum wage of $7.25/hour.
CTR Speaks All Things Payroll
Is your organization set to be affected by Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act? Unsure if you’ll be in compliance? Contact CTR for help with all of your payroll questions. Through the power of isolved, we offer intuitive, online solutions to help you handle any new legislation like the pros you are.