After earlier veto, AlleCo Exec Rich Fitzgerald pitches new countywide paid sick leave bill

The bill would require would require employers of 26 people or more to provide at least one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked

By: - August 29, 2021 6:30 am

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh City Paper photo).

By Ryan Deto

PITTSBURGH — After vetoing a paid sick leave bill earlier this year, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has introduced a new paid sick leave bill that would provide all workers who don’t already have adequate paid sick time off in Allegheny County some paid sick days.

In March, Fitzgerald — who is supportive of paid sick leave legislation — said he vetoed Allegheny County Council’s earlier attempt because he believed it would not survive a legal challenge and said that any paid sick leave legislation must go through the county’s Department of Health.

Fitzgerald’s bill, if passed, would require employers of 26 people or more to provide at least one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked. For full-time workers who work 35 hours a week at five days a week, that would equate to about seven days of paid sick time a year.

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However, according to the proposed bill, at no point can a worker of a medium-to-large employer accrue more than 40 hours of paid sick time. Accrued paid sick time shall be carried over to the following calendar year, except for medium-to-large employers which provide at least 40 hours of paid sick time to employees at the start of a calendar year.

Fitzgerald’s legislation has several of the same provisions written into the bill that was passed earlier this year in Allegheny County Council, which also accrued the same amount of hours for workers of employers with more than 26 employees.

The city of Pittsburgh has had a paid sick leave ordinance on the books since March 2020, but most workers who are employed in locations outside of the city still lack mandatory paid sick leave. Sam Williamson of labor union SEIU 32BJ told Pittsburgh City Paper in 2020 that he expects a countywide paid sick leave bill to provide paid sick days to tens of thousands of employees all throughout Allegheny County.

Paid sick days could be used for personal health care, but also for care of a family member who has a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition.

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If passed, the law would take effect 90 days after county officials provide proper notice to affected employers. Allegheny County officials will have the authority to enforce violations, with penalties not to exceed $100 for each separate offense, according to the legislation.

The bill is on the agenda for the Tue., Aug. 31 Allegheny County Council meeting.

Ryan Deto is a reporter for Pittsburgh City Paper, where this story first appeared

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