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Pittsburgh requires supplemental COVID-19 paid sick time


Author: ADP Admin/Tuesday, February 2, 2021/Categories: Compliance Corner , State Compliance Update, Pennsylvania

The City of Pittsburgh has adopted a temporary ordinance that requires employers to provide leave for certain COVID-19 related reasons to employees who work within the city. The ordinance is in effect from December 9, 2020, until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.


The City of Pittsburgh's Paid Sick Days Act (PSDA), effective March 15, 2020, requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees working within the geographic boundaries of Pittsburgh.

Under the Act, employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 35 hours worked. Employers with 15 or more employees must allow employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employers with fewer than 15 employees must allow employees to accrue up to 24 hours per year. The sick time is unpaid during the first year the Act is in effect, but employees may accrue paid sick time beginning one year after the effective date of the Act.

Supplemental COVID-19 Sick Time Ordinance:

Pittsburgh's Mayor signed a temporary ordinance, effective December 9, 2020, which amends the PSDA to permit employees to take PSDA leave before such time is accrued if the reason for leave is directly related to COVID-19.

The ordinance will remain in effect until the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Declaration of Emergency or the Pittsburgh COVID-19 Declaration of Emergency ends, whichever is sooner.

Covered Employees:

Under the ordinance, employers in Pittsburgh with 50 or more employees working in the city must provide employees with up to 80 hours of COVID-19 sick time. This time is in addition to PSDA time and any paid leave or sick time provided by an employer.

Employees are eligible for supplemental COVID-19 sick time if the employee has been employed by the employer for the previous 90 days and:

  • Is working for an employer within Pittsburgh after December 8, 2020;
  • Normally works for an employer located within Pittsburgh but is currently teleworking from any other location due to COVID-19; or
  • Works for an employer from multiple locations or from mobile locations, if 51% or more of the employee's time is spent within the city of Pittsburgh.

COVID-19 sick time must be provided to eligible employees immediately, without any waiting period or accrual requirements. Employees may use this leave until one week following the official conclusion or suspension of the public health emergency.

Leave entitlement:

The amount of COVID-19 sick time entitlement is based on the hours an employee works per week. Employees who work 40 or more hours per week are entitled to 80 hours. Employees who work fewer than 40 hours in a week are entitled to sick time in an amount equal to the amount of time the employee is otherwise scheduled to work, or works on average, in a 14-day period, whichever is greater, unless the employer designates a higher limit. If an employee's schedule fluctuates weekly, the employer can use a number equal to the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled over the past 90 days of work. This includes hours for which the employee took leave of any type.

Employees who are exempt from overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will be assumed to work 40 hours per week unless their normal workweek is less than 40 hours.

Reasons for Leave:

Eligible employees may take COVID-19 paid sick time if they are unable to work or telework because they are:

  • Self-isolating and caring for themselves, or a family member, due to a COVID-19 diagnosis, or they're experience symptoms of COVID-19;
  • Seeking or obtaining a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment, if they, or a family member, are experiencing symptoms of an illness related to COVID-19; or
  • Caring for themselves, or a family member, if: (a) a public official or public health authority, health care provider or an employer determines that the affected person's presence on the job or in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of their exposure to COVID-19; or (b) they exhibit symptoms that might jeopardize the health of others, regardless of a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Employee Notice Requirements:

Employees must provide notice to their employer of their need for COVID-19 sick time as soon as practical.

Interplay with Other Laws and Employer Policy:

To the extent that federal or state law requires employers to provide paid leave or paid sick time related to COVID-19, employers may substitute leave under the federal or state law to meet the obligations of this ordinance. In order to be able to do so, an employee must be able to use such leave for the same purposes and under the same conditions. However, employers are required to provide additional COVID-19 sick time under the ordinance to the extent the ordinance exceeds the requirements of the federal or state law.

Compliance Recommendations:

Pittsburgh employers should review their policies, forms, practices, and supervisor training to ensure compliance with the ordinance. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.

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Tags: 02/04/21

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