Allegheny County Council passes paid sick leave bill for medium and large employers | Labor | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Allegheny County Council passes paid sick leave bill for medium and large employers

On March 9, Allegheny County Council passed a bill that would require organizations that employ more than 25 people to provide paid sick days to employees in Allegheny County.

These medium and large businesses and employers would need to provide at least five days of paid sick days to employees. This was amended from the original proposal, which mirrored the
city of Pittsburgh’s legislation, and would have required employers with 15 workers or more to offer up to five days of paid sick time, and employers with fewer than 15 workers to offer up to three days of paid sick time. Independent contractors, unionized construction workers, seasonal employees, and state and federal workers would also be excluded from the requirements.

Of municipalities within Allegheny County, only the city of Pittsburgh currently requires employers to provide paid sick days to employees.

The bill passed by a vote of 10-4-1, with 10 Democrats supporting and three Republicans and one Democrat opposing. Allegheny County Councilor Nick Futules (D-Oakmont) abstained, citing conflict of interest since he is a business owner. The bill awaits Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald's signature before being implemented.

The passage was lauded by labor rights groups like Pittsburgh United who called it a “well-deserved victory.” Allegheny County Councilor Thomas Duerr (D-Bethel Park) said he was proud to see the bill finally pass through the chamber.

One of the paid sick leave bill’s original co-sponsors Bethany Hallam (D-North Side) also celebrated the victory, and wrote on Twitter that supporters of the bill hope to amend the bill back to the original requirements before implementation.

First introduced in April 2020, the bill has faced some hurdles getting through a committee vote and was held up for some time by Councilor Cindy Kirk (R-Wexford).

Sam Williamson of labor union SEIU 32BJ told Pittsburgh City Paper last year that he expects a countywide paid sick leave bill to provide paid sick days to tens of thousands of employees all throughout Allegheny County.

Fitzgerald has not taken a position on the bill. According to WESA reporter An-Li Herring, Fitzgerald says he supports the idea of paid sick leave, but worries about the timing and legality of the bill.

However, those reservations might not matter, as the passage of the bill was more than the two-thirds majority required to override any vetoes by the chief executive.