Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Ordinance: Notices Published and January Effective Date Set

by Littler
Contact

When the City of Pittsburgh enacted the Paid Sick Days Ordinance in August 2015, it delayed the effective date until the City Controller’s Office posted regulations and notice information for employers.1  The Controller’s Office published the required notices and a series of FAQs on October 12, 2015.2  As a result, the Paid Sick Days Ordinance will take effect January 11, 2016. 

Overview of the Ordinance

Under the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Ordinance, employees accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours they work (including overtime hours) in Pittsburgh.  Employees of employers with 15 or more employees can accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year.  Employees of employers with fewer than 15 employees can accrue up to 24 hours of paid sick time per year.  In the initial year, employees of employers with fewer than 15 employees will accrue only unpaid sick time rather than paid sick time.  Now that the effective date is known, employees will begin accruing paid sick time on January 11, 2016, but employees are not entitled to take paid sick time until 90 days later, or April 10, 2016.

The Required Notices

The Controller’s Office issued two notices that employers are required to post in order to comply with the notice requirements of the Ordinance.  Employers must use the actual notices published by the Controller’s Office or face a fine. 

The notices may create some confusion.  Employers may, therefore, want to explain the details of the Ordinance in either their existing paid time off (PTO) or sick pay policy or in a separate policy to supplement the summary of the law provided in the official notices.  For example, the “Pittsburgh Paid Sick Time” notice describes the rate of pay for paid sick time differently than does the Ordinance.  The Ordinance states that paid sick time is to be paid at the “same base rate of pay” that an employee would have earned at the time s/he uses paid sick time.  The required notice states, “Employees must be paid at least their same hourly rate.”  This difference may lead some employees to misunderstand how their paid sick time will be calculated.  For example, if employees use paid sick time during a shift in which they are earning overtime, they may believe they are entitled to receive sick pay at their overtime rate instead of their base rate.  In addition, the “Notice to Employees” fails to explain that employees who are employed by employers with fewer than 15 people only accrue unpaid sick time rather than paid sick time. 

The Ordinance directs the Controller’s Office to provide “multilingual informational materials” about the availability of paid sick time.  The Controller’s Office has not yet published any such materials.  Employers should monitor the Controller’s Office’s website in order to obtain the required notices and other materials in other languages when they are posted.

The Controller’s Office published FAQs instead of formal regulations.  Unfortunately, the FAQs provide no new information nor do they clarify anything in the Ordinance.  They simply summarize the Ordinance in a Q&A format. 

What Should Employers Do to Prepare?

Employers who have employees who work in Pittsburgh, even irregularly, should take steps to comply with the Ordinance now.  If an employer’s existing PTO or sick policies do not comply with all of the requirements of the Ordinance, the employer will be found to have violated the Ordinance.  As discussed in detail in our August 6, 2015 Insight, the Ordinance contains very specific requirements with respect to the accrual rate, the carryover of unused time, the reinstatement of accrued sick pay time for rehired employees, the increments in which leave may be taken, and the reasons for taking leave.  The Ordinance also restricts an employer’s ability to request documentation to verify that the employee used paid sick time for a permissible purpose and prohibits employers from considering time taken for paid sick leave in any absence control policy.

In light of these detailed requirements, employers need to review their PTO or sick pay policies carefully.  Many employers will need to decide soon whether they will change their existing PTO or sick policies to incorporate the requirements of the Ordinance or create a separate paid sick leave policy and leave bank.  Employers will also want to consider whether to frontload paid sick time or permit it to be carried over each year, and whether they should adopt formal call-off procedures or modify their existing call-off procedures rather than rely on the default call-off rule in the Ordinance. 

Employers must post the required notices on or before January 11, 2016.  Employers will want to continue to monitor the Controller’s Office website for updated information on the Ordinance, including information in other languages.

A group of local businesses has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Ordinance in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.  Briefs will not be filed until November, and a final decision on the suit will likely not be made prior to the effective date of the Ordinance.

Given the intricacies of the Ordinance and its impact on human resources policies and payroll practices, employers should plan and prepare now so they can comply with the Ordinance on January 11, 2016.

 

1   See Mark T. Phillis and Allison R. Brown, Pittsburgh City Council Approves Amended Paid Sick Leave Bill, Littler Insight (Aug. 6, 2015).

2   The two required notices, the FAQs, and a copy of the Ordinance can be found at:  http://pittsburghpa.gov/controller-office/psda/overview.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Littler | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Littler
Contact
more
less

Littler on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.