Rachel Felton, Attorney at Law

Rachel D. Felton


Posted on October 11, 2021

Last month, Allegheny County Council unanimously passed a new Ordinance requiring employers with 26 or more part-time and full-time employees to provide paid sick leave to their workers.

The Ordinance is expected to take effect shortly after.  Employers should make sure their paid time off policies comply with the Ordinance. The following is a brief breakdown describing the specifics of the Ordinance.


Full and part-time employees are eligible to use paid sick time after 90 days of employment. Existing employees begin accruing time on the effective date of the Ordinance. The Ordinance does not cover seasonal employees, state and federal employees, members of construction unions covered by a collective bargaining agreement, or independent contractors.

Accrual Rate

The Ordinance requires eligible employees to earn one hour of paid sick leave per 35 hours worked, with a cap at 40 hours per calendar year (unless employers designate additional accrual). Accrued sick leave may roll over to the following calendar year. Alternatively, employers can provide employees with the full 40 hours on January 1, of each calendar year, in which case the sick leave does not have to roll over to the following calendar year.

Use of Paid Sick Leave

Employees may use paid sick time under the Ordinance for:

  1. An employee’s or family member’s mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; or need for preventative medical care;
  2. Closure of the employee’s place of business due to a public health emergency;
  3. An employee’s need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed due to a public health emergency; or
  4. An employee’s need to care for a family member when the family member’s presence in the community would jeopardize the health of others due to exposure to a communicable disease (whether or not the family member has actually contracted the communicable disease).

Employer’s Obligations

Covered employers are required to provide written notice of the Ordinance to their employees and keep records for two years. An employer is permitted to maintain a reasonable notification policy. However, an employer is not permitted to require employees using paid sick leave time to search for or find a replacement worker to cover the hours the employee will be absent as a condition for providing paid sick leave time. Employers are not required to pay out sick leave time upon employee termination.

Notice Obligations

An employee must provide a request to the employer upon the use of paid sick leave time. If possible, the request should include the anticipated duration of absence. An employer may require the employee to provide reasonable documentation for the use of paid sick leave if the leave lasts three or more consecutive days.

Existing Employer Policies

Employers who already meet or exceed the requirements of the paid sick leave Ordinance through paid leave policies or collective bargaining agreements are not required to provide additional sick leave under this new law.

If you have any questions regarding the new paid sick leave Ordinance, please contact Rachel Felton, Jim O’Connor or a member of our employment law team.

This post was written by Rachel Felton

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