35 minutes ago
Pittsburgh employers say their biggest headache in complying with the city’s paid sick leave regulations will be tracking employee hours, particularly for part-time and seasonal employees.
Starting March 15, business owners in Pittsburgh will be required to offer employees paid sick leave.
The city’s Law Department last month issued guidelines for administering an ordinance approved by City Council and signed by Mayor Bill Peduto in 2015. The guidelines gave businesses 90 days to be in compliance.
“I think the biggest challenge for a small business like myself is going to be the tracking of the hours that accrue more than the actual paying out of the sick time,” said Tim Maloney, owner of Brighton Heights-based Dirt Doctors Cleaning Service. “I have employees who work in the city and out of the city, and some do both. Then I have employees who clean houses. On the same day they might be on the North Side and then they may be in the North Hills. How do you track that?”
Under the ordinance, employers with 15 or more employees must give them up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.
Employers with fewer than 15 employees must provide up to 24 hours of paid sick leave per year. Those businesses can offer unpaid sick time for the first year, but must begin paying workers for time off after that.
Melissa Bova, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, said the organization would provide training sessions for members, possibly as early as January. She said the group would ask the city for an extension because the guidelines were issued during Christmas holidays, the busiest time of year for members.
“We have 90 days, and when you lose the first 30 because of the holidays that doesn’t give you a lot of time,” she said. “This will effect every business in the city of Pittsburgh. Everybody will have to change their employee policies because of this.”
Pittsburgh is unlikely to push back the March deadline, said Tim McNulty, spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto.
“The restaurant association has known about these rules since 2015, including the condition stating there would be a 90-day window for implementation of the law,” McNulty said.
He said the city is not planning any educational seminars for employers, but is reviewing feedback from businesses.
The restaurant and lodging association and several businesses launched a series of court appeals that ended when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in July ruled in favor of the city.
Bova said the Supreme Court stipulated that the Allegheny County Health Department should issue guidelines for administering the ordinance.
“It makes me feel like they’re kind of bypassing the ruling,” Bova said. “I don’t think we have a a fight here, but it is a little frustrating that they’re not following the letter of the law.”
McNulty declined comment.
Sean Casey, owner of Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville, said he is only now starting to sort through the new regulations. Church Brew Works offers full-time workers at least one week of paid time off, plus pension and health care benefits.
He said tracking the hours of part-timers and seasonal workers would be a challenge.
“Everybody was pretty shocked that the Supreme Court ruled for it,” he said. “I think everybody is in the beginning stages now to try and scramble and learn more. If you have a high school kid who works two shifts a week as a hostess, that’s the stuff that we’re going to have to figure out.”