1) What does the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Time law do?
It gives workers sick time that can be used to recover from physical/mental illness or injury; to seek medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; to care for a family member who is ill or needs medical diagnosis, treatment, or preventative care; when the worker’s place of business is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency or to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency; or to care for a family member when a public health authority or health care provider determines that the family member’s presence in the community presents a public health risk because of exposure to a communicable disease (regardless of whether the individual has contracted the disease).
From December 9, 2020 to June 10, 2021, an emergency COVID-19 paid sick leave ordinance may have provided certain workers with additional sick time rights in relation to COVID-19. For more information, see the expired law here.
2) Am I covered?
If you work as an employee in Pittsburgh, you are probably covered, whether you are a full-time or part-time worker. However, the law does not cover federal and state employees, independent contractors, construction union members covered by a collective bargaining unit, and certain seasonal workers hired for a seasonal period of no more than 16 weeks in a calendar year—and notified of such in writing at the time of hire.
3) How much sick time can I earn?
You earn 1 hour of sick time for every 35 hours worked. If your workplace has 15 or more workers, you can earn up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick time per year. If your workplace has fewer than 15 workers, you can earn up to 24 hours of per year and until March 15, 2021, this time will be unpaid; beginning March 15, 2021, this time will be paid.
All covered employees are protected against being fired or punished for using their sick time (including threats, discipline, demotion, reduction in hours, termination, etc.).
4) What if my work or my child’s school or daycare is closed for a health emergency?
You can also use your sick time if your place of business is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency or to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency.
5) Which of my family members are covered by the law?
You can take sick time to care for yourself or a child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent of a spouse or domestic partner, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, grandparent’s spouse or domestic partner, or for any individual for whom you’ve received oral permission from your employer to care for at the time of your sick time request.
6) What if I already have paid leave or paid time off?
If you already get any paid leave (vacation, paid time off, etc.) that you can use as sick time for the same purposes and under the same conditions of this law and it’s at least the same amount you would earn under this law, the law does not give you any additional paid time off.
7) When can I begin using my sick time?
You start earning sick time immediately beginning March 15, 2020 but cannot use it until 90 days after the start of your employment.
8) Do I need a doctor’s note?
Only after 3 or more full consecutive days of absence (and the note does not have to specify your illness).
All covered workers are protected against being fired or punished for using sick time. If you have a problem—or want more information—call A Better Balance’s free legal clinic at 1-833-NEED-ABB.
The Mayor’s Office of Equity is in charge of enforcing this law.
Please note that this fact sheet does not represent an exhaustive overview of the paid sick time law described, and it does not constitute legal advice. It is possible that additional provisions not described in this fact sheet may apply to a worker’s specific circumstances or category of employment.
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