Overview of Paid Sick Time Laws in the United States:
Pittsburgh, PA

Updated on October 13, 2020

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Pittsburgh, PA
Who is covered? Note: City/county paid sick time laws cannot cover state government workers, and city, county, and state paid sick time laws cannot cover federal government workers. Workers employed in Pittsburgh are covered. Independent contractors and seasonal workers (those hired for a temporary period of not more than 16 weeks and given written notification at time of hire that employment is limited to beginning/end of seasonal dates as determined by employer) are exempted.
Can sick time be used to care for loved ones? Yes: children; parents; parents of a spouse or domestic partner; spouses; domestic partners; grandchildren; grandparents; the spouse or domestic partner of a grandparent; siblings; and any individual for whom the worker received oral permission from the employer to care for at the time of the worker’s request to make use of sick time
How is “child” defined? Biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, child of a domestic partner, or child of a worker standing in loco parentis to the child
Can sick time be used for specific “safe time” purposes (related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking)? No
Can sick time be used under the law to bond with a new child and/or deal with a family member’s death? Note: It is possible that other laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act or a state equivalent, could provide eligible workers with unpaid leave for these purposes. No
Can sick time be used when a worker’s place of work or child’s school/place of care is closed by public health officials for a public health emergency? Yes
Rate at which workers earn paid sick time? 1 hour for every 35 hours worked
Do workers have different sick time-related rights based on the size of their employer? If so, based on what employer-size threshold(s)? Yes. Workers in businesses with 15 or more workers can earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year. Workers in businesses with fewer than 15 workers can earn up to 24 hours of paid sick time per year.
Amount of paid sick time that can be earned under the law per year? (Note: All of these paid sick time laws make it clear that these laws establish a minimum requirement, and employers can provide greater or more generous paid sick time benefits to their workers.) Workers in businesses with 15 or more workers: up to 40 hours a year. Workers in businesses with fewer than 15 workers: up to 24 hours a year, although in the first year after the law goes into effect, this time will be unpaid (thereafter it will be 24 hours of paid sick time a year for workers in these small businesses).
When do workers begin to earn paid sick time? At the commencement of employment, but workers aren’t entitled to use sick time until the 90th calendar day after employment commenced.
Does unused sick time carry forward to the subsequent year? Workers are entitled to carry forward unused sick time, but employers aren’t required to allow use of more than 40 hours of paid sick time a year (for businesses with 15 or more workers) or more than 24 hours of sick time a year (for businesses with fewer workers). Carry forward is not required if the employer provides the worker with an amount of paid sick time that meets or exceeds the law’s requirement on the first day of the subsequent year.
Private Right of Action to go to Court? No
Are there waivers/ exemptions for workers covered by a valid Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)? Members of a construction union covered by a collective bargaining unit are exempted.
What Agency or Official Enforces the Law? The Office of the City Controller or a Department or entity designated by the Mayor’s Office
For the statewide paid sick time laws: can cities in the state pass paid sick time laws that are broader than the state law? N/A
Statutory Citation(s) Pittsburgh Code § 626 et seq.
Additional Notes On August 3, 2015, the Pittsburgh City Council passed a paid sick time law by a vote of 7-1. Opponents challenged its legality in court, temporarily blocking it from taking effect. In July 2019, after nearly four years of litigation, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the law. The law took effect on March 15, 2020. For more information on Pittsburgh’s law, see https://pittsburghpa.gov/mayor/paidsickleave.
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