What sick leave is available to you? In today’s business world, the answer to that question may depend on where you are currently working. Some cities and states, including Phoenix, Arizona; California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington or Washington, D.C., require mandatory leave available to allow you to take paid time off to recover from your illness (or the illness of a loved one).
Note: This is not an exhaustive list of cities and states mandating paid sick leave. For more information about paid leave in your city or state, please visit your state's official government site.
On March 15, 2020, Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act will go into effect, joining the states listed above in requiring employers to offer such benefits. This is a minimum policy. If you already offer a more generous leave policy, you do not need to implement this in addition to your current practice.
Pittsburgh’s paid sick days act.
It has been four and a half years since Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act was signed into law by Mayor Bill Peduto and the Pittsburgh City Council. The Act was delayed because it was challenged by The Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association along with other PA businesses. They claimed that the proposed Act was, “precluded by the business exclusion of Pennsylvania’s Home Rule Charter, which limits local actions that burden employers”, according to this SHRM update.
However, in July 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the Paid Sick Days Act, and it is set to go into effect on March 15, 2020. The purpose of the Act, according to the Pittsburgh City Code Chapter 626 states that it was, “…enacted to enhance public health by ensuring eligible employees across the City of Pittsburgh are able to earn Paid Sick Time”. So, what makes employees eligible?
Guidelines for paid sick days.
What Makes an Employee Eligible?
To be an eligible employee, according to the Act, a person must work at least 35 hours in a calendar year within the City of Pittsburgh. Employees who are not eligible include independent contractors, State or Federal employees, any member of a construction union covered by a collective bargaining unit, and seasonal employees.
Accrual of Sick Time
For every 35 hours of work by an employee within the City of Pittsburgh, an employer needs to provide one hour of sick leave. However, for the first year, the number of employees an organization employs determines if the sick leave must be paid or not.
For employers with 15 or more employees, each employee must accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked. They can accrue up to more than 40 hours of paid sick time in a calendar year unless the employer allows a higher amount.
If an employer has less than 15 employees, the employee accrues one hour of unpaid sick time for every 35 hours worked from the effective date of March 15, 2020, to March 15, 2021. Employees may accrue more than 24 hours of unpaid sick time unless the employer designates a higher amount. Starting on March 15, 2021, employees will begin to accrue paid sick time and the same 24-hour rule will still apply.
How to Determine the Number of Employees
All employees should be counted, excluding the owner(s). If the number of people who were employed changed over the previous 12 months, the employer should use the highest number at any one time. Additionally, a part-time employee should be counted as a full employee, not a fraction.
Additional sick leave fast facts.
Now that we’ve covered an overview of Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act, here are a few additional fast facts to note:
- If an employee is exempt by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), they are assumed to work 40 hours a week (unless their normal workweek is less than 40 hours) and should accrue time based on their normal workweek.
- Sick time is to be accrued in one-hour increments unless the employer has a written document stating that sick time is to be accrued in fraction-of-an-hour increments.
- Accrued, unused Sick Time for a qualified employee can be carried over from one calendar year to the next, up to the required accrual limit.
- However, it is not required that unused, accrued sick time from the previous calendar year is carried over if the employer provides for at least the maximum number of hours of Paid Sick Time mandated by this law.
For more information, read Pittsburgh’s “Guidelines for Administering Pittsburgh City Code Chapter 626, ‘Paid Sick Days Act’”.
What should your business do?
In today’s business climate, employers are often confronted with the conflicting city and state ordinances regarding sick leave accrual and usage. These laws and their differences can seem daunting to businesses.
How do you apply different laws to different groups of employees with different job descriptions, and working in different jurisdictions? An automated time and attendance system is a great option.
PrimePay offers a variety of systems to meet any employer’s needs. These programs can define almost any type of accrual policy imaginable, and, apply those policies to different groups of employees based on geography, employee type, or job description. Let the professionals at PrimePay build a system that keeps you in compliance.
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