In September 2021, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania passed a sick leave ordinance requiring employers with at least 26 employees to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Recently, the county modified the effective date of the ordinance to December 15, 2021.
- All employees, except for seasonal workers and independent contractors, are eligible for paid sick leave through the ordinance.
- It is important to note that this leave does not apply to state and federal government employees.
- Employers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are not bound to this ordinance. For employers in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act will prevail. Further guidance on this issue is anticipated.
- Employees start accruing leave immediately upon hire but may not use it until after 90 days of service with the employer. Eligible employees will accrue one hour for every 35 hours worked and will be eligible to accrue up to 40 hours annually. Employers have the option of providing the 40 hours of paid sick leave (PSL) at the beginning of the year, commonly known as frontloading.
- Employers with a paid sick time policy equal to or greater than the benefit outlined in the ordinance are not required to provide additional sick leave on top of their original policy.
- Former employees that are rehired within six months of separation must be reinstated with their accrued but unused sick leave balance.
Qualifying Reasons for Paid Sick Leave:
- To care for the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition. This includes an employee’s need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, and an employee’s need for preventive medical care.
- To care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition. This includes care for a family member who needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, and the family member’s need for preventive medical care.
- If an employee’s place of business is closed due to a public health emergency or their child’s school or place of care has been closed due to a public health emergency. This also includes when an employee needs to care for a family member if health authorities having jurisdiction, or a health care provider, have determined that the family member’s presence in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of their exposure to a communicable disease. This stands true whether or not the family member has contracted the communicable disease.
Rate of Pay Requirements:
- Paid sick leave must be compensated at the employee’s base rate of pay.
- Salary employees and fixed hourly rates should be compensated based on the same rate as they would normally earn from work.
- Tipped Employees and Commission Paid employees should be compensated at a rate no lower than the minimum hourly rate for hours worked.
- Employers are required to compensate employees at their hourly rate, whether or not the employee has earned or could have earned pay at an overtime rate during some part of the relevant pay period.
- Employers are required to provide written notice to their employees of their paid sick leave.
- The notice must include eligible reasons to take leave and the amount of leave the employee is entitled to.
- Employers must keep detailed timekeeping records for a minimum of two years. The county department reserves the right to obtain these records at any time. Employers should ensure their documentation is kept up to date in the event of a spot-audit from a county agency.
Employers Next Steps
- Review your existing policies to ensure compliance with the Allegheny County Paid Sick Leave ordinance.
- Employers should review Allegheny County’s Sample Notice, Guidelines and FAQs for additional information.
- Provide written notice to all employees of their paid sick leave policy.
- If you are a Full-Service or Virtual HR client and would like our assistance updating your policy, please email us.
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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.