COVID-19 paid sick leave extended to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh has joined other U.S. cities in enacting new legislation to deal with rising COVID-19 cases from a sick leave perspective.

On July 29, 2021, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto signed a new ordinance granting COVID-19 sick leave to certain employees working in the city (the “July 29th Ordinance”). Although the July 29 ordinance is technically “new,” it is closely related to (and practically mirrors) the Pittsburgh Act of December 9, 2020 on emergency paid sick leave for COVID-19 emergencies (l ‘“Ordinance of December 20”).

Similar to the Dec. 20 ordinance, the new legislation complements the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act (PSDA) and amends the PSDA by expressly allowing employees to take sick leave under the PSDA before it is accrued if the reason for use stems directly from COVID-19. Like previous legislation, the new ordinance requires Pittsburgh employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 80 hours of paid COVID-19 sick leave to their employees for COVID-19-related reasons. The July 29 ordinance also requires employers to provide paid COVID sick leave in addition to other forms of paid leave, provided the employee notifies the employer of the need for COVID-19 sick leave as soon as possible.

The new ordinance also adds to how COVID-19 sick leave can be used. In addition to the reasons listed in the decree of December 20, employees can use COVID-19 sick leave:

  1. To get a vaccine or a vaccine booster for themselves or a family member;

  2. If they are unable to work or telecommute due to COVID-19 or one of its variants; and

  3. Self-isolate and take care of yourself or a family member as directed promulgated by Allegheny County Health Department because the employee or a family member is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or one of its variants.

Importantly, the new ordinance does not say whether sick leave previously taken under the December 20 ordinance will apply to leave under the new legislation. More guidance on this issue is expected.

The ordinance of July 29 came into effect upon signature by Mayor Peduto and will remain in effect for one year (until July 29, 2022). However, unlike the Dec. 20 ordinance, it does not allow employees to use COVID-19 sick leave for an additional week after the official end of the public health emergency (whatever it is).

Jackson Lewis PC © 2021Revue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 223

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