Back to Posts Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act

What You Need to Know About Pittsburgh’s New Paid Sick Days Act

Key Points:

  • Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act goes into effect on March 15, 2020.
  • Under this Act, you must provide paid sick leave to covered employees who work in Pittsburgh for 35 hours or more each calendar year. 
  • Covered employees can earn up to 24 or 40 hours of paid sick leave, depending on your organization’s size. You can award all paid sick leave at the beginning of the year or let it accrue over time.

A sick employee can be a hazard to everyone in the workplace. They can accidentally infect their coworkers and they usually aren’t as productive. However, sick employees often come in to work anyway because they feel they can’t afford to take an unpaid day, work remotely, or fall behind on their tasks. To give employees time to rest and recover without stress, many cities are requiring paid sick leave. 

After Philadelphia, Pittsburgh is the second city in Pennsylvania to enact a paid sick leave policy. Under Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act, employers must provide paid sick leave to any covered employee who works more than 35 hours per calendar year in the city.

If you or any of your employees work in Pittsburgh, here’s what you need to know about the new Act:

When is it effective?

Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act goes into effect on March 15, 2020.


Who does it affect?

This Act covers both full-time and part-time employees who work within Pittsburgh’s city limits for 35 hours or more each calendar year. This includes employees who commute through the city and spend more than 35 hours per calendar year doing so. 

If you’re a private employer with at least one employee who meets the above requirements, you must comply with the Act. This Act applies to most private employers in Pittsburgh. 


Who doesn’t it affect?

The following employees are not covered by the Act:

  • Federal and state employees
  • Construction union members covered under collective bargaining agreements
  • Independent contractors
  • Seasonal workers employed for less than 16 weeks (for these workers to be exempt, you must give them written notice that they’ll only work for 16 weeks or less)


How much paid sick leave do I need to give employees?

The amount of paid sick leave you need to provide depends on how many employees you have. Include full-time and part-time employees in your count, regardless of whether or not they are covered by the Act. Do not include owners in your count.

If you have 15 or more employees: 
Your employees can accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year. 

If you have less than 15 employees:
Your employees can accrue up to 24 hours of unpaid sick leave in the first year of the Act. Beginning on March 15, 2021, though, your employees can accrue up to 24 hours of paid sick leave in a calendar year.


Can I give employees more paid sick leave?

Yes. If you wish, you can give employees more paid sick leave than the Act requires.


How much do I compensate employees who take paid sick leave?

When a covered employee uses paid sick time off, you must compensate them with their regular wage rate. 


When do employees begin to accrue paid sick time?

Accrual of paid sick leave begins on March 15, 2020. Any hours worked before March 15, 2020 will not count towards an employee’s accrual. 

Covered employees who begin on or after March 15, 2020 will begin to accrue paid sick leave as soon as they start work. 


When can employees use their accrued paid sick time?

Employees can use accrued sick time 90 calendar days after their employment start date. After that date, they can use their accrued sick time as they please.


Can I award (or front-load) paid sick leave?

Yes. You can award employees the maximum amount of paid sick leave at the beginning of the calendar year, instead of letting it accrue. 

If you have less than 15 employees, you would front-load 24 hours at the beginning of the calendar year. 

If you have 15 or more employees, you would front-load 40 hours of paid sick leave at the beginning of the calendar year.


Does paid sick leave carry over?

It depends on how you award your sick leave. If your employees accrue paid sick days, any accrued, unused time will carry over from one calendar year to the next (up to the maximum of 24 or 40 hours).

However, if you front-load the maximum amount of paid sick leave hours at the beginning of a calendar year, you are not required to carry over any unused paid sick time to the next calendar year.


I already offer paid time off. Do I need a specific paid sick leave category?

No. If you already offer some form of paid time off and it meets or exceeds the requirements of the Act, you do not need to offer additional paid sick leave. Employees must be able to use the paid time off you offer for the same purposes as paid sick leave covered under the Act.

What else do I need to do?

You need to post the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Act Notice somewhere visible to all of your employees. This notice explains your employees’ rights under the Act. It also details acceptable use of paid sick leave and prohibits employer retaliation against employees who use paid sick leave.

For the full list of exceptions, guidelines, and FAQs regarding Pittsburgh’s new Paid Sick Days Act, please visit the Office of Equity Website.


If you’re a Pittsburgh-based organization, the new Paid Sick Days Act will affect you and your employees. It might even make it harder for you to track paid sick leave, vacation days, and other employee absences. With SentricHR, you can turn a time-tracking headache into a streamlined, paperless process. Schedule a demo to learn more about our time-tracking capabilities and how we can help you navigate the new Act.