Employment Law Alert: Employers Need to Update Their Policies – Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act is Effective March 15

If your business has employees working within the City of Pittsburgh, now is the time to update your leave and attendance policies for compliance with the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act (PSDA) which will become effective March 15. The PSDA applies to employees working within the geographical boundaries of the City of Pittsburgh, even if the business has an office located outside of the City.

The PSDA requires businesses with fewer than 15 employees to provide employees up to 24 hours of paid sick leave per year; however, during the first year the PSDA is effective, the time can be unpaid for smaller employers. Employers with 15 or more employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year effective March 15.

Most sick leave and paid time off policies will need to be revised because all employees, including part-time and casual employees, must accrue paid sick time at a minimum rate of 1 hour for every 35 hours worked.   Paid time off policies, which permit employees to use time for the purposes set forth in the PSDA will comply, but the policy will likely need to be updated to clarify that employees are permitted to use the time off for purposes set forth in the PSDA as follows:

  • for an employee’s health condition;
  • care for a family member’s health conditions;
  • closure of employee’s work place due to public health emergency;
  • employee’s need to care for a child whose school or daycare is closed due to a public health emergency; and
  • if a family member was exposed to a communicable disease.

Given the Coronavirus recent spread, the reasons set for the PSDA could become important in the upcoming months.

Employers are not permitted to retaliate or discriminate against an employee who exercises his/her right to use sick time under the PSDA. Employees cannot be disciplined or assigned points under attendance policies for use of sick time. Therefore, companies should review their attendance polices to ensure employees are not being disciplined or have other adverse action taken against them for proper use of sick time.

For guidance on updating policies and questions on the PSDA, please contact Elaina Smiley at [email protected].

This material is for informational purposes only.  It is not and should not be solely relied on as legal advice in dealing with any specific situation.

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