Peduto proposes Pittsburgh city pandemic paid sick leave legislation as federal act runs out | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Peduto proposes Pittsburgh city pandemic paid sick leave legislation as federal act runs out

Today, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto introduced a piece of legislation that would extend paid sick leave for Pittsburghers amid the ongoing pandemic. Currently, paid sick leave offered under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is set to expire at the end of the year on Dec. 31.

In a press release, Peduto said the legislation, which was proposed to City Council today, was to make up for the lack of action from the federal government on the issue.

"Due to failed federal action, workers should not have to choose between their family’s health during a worldwide pandemic and their ability to pay their bills," said Peduto in a press release. "In Pittsburgh we’re used to stepping up when Washington fails, and will do so again to protect our people from COVID-19."

The FFCRA was aimed at businesses with 50 or more employees and mandated paid sick leave while for employees who had to quarantine due to testing positive for COVID-19, awaiting test results, or otherwise quarantining due to government regulations. It also provided partially paid leave for those caring for a sick relative or child whose school is closed due to the pandemic. It provided up to two weeks, or 80 hours, of paid leave.

Peduto's legislation aims to provide 112 hours (around three weeks) of paid sick leave with similar parameters to the FFCRA, including inability to work due to COVID-19 or caring for a family member, as well as an employee's inability to telework due to closure of a business because of coronavirus. The legislation would also follow the same parameters as the city's current paid-sick leave law, but would be in addition to that law.

"The City of Pittsburgh finds it appropriate to mandate that employees receiving Paid Sick time under the Paid Sick Days Act should be provided such time immediately without need for accrual in the event that the use of Paid Sick time arises from COVID-19," reads the proposed ordinance.

It also covers employees who have to work from home due to "determination by a public official or public health authority having jurisdiction, a health care provider, or an employee’s employer that the employee’s presence on the job or in the community would jeopardize the health of others...regardless of whether the individual has been diagnosed with the contagious illness."

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the law does not apply to employers that already offer a more aggressive paid sick time policy.

Per the press release, the legislation would remain in place until Pittsburgh's emergency COVID-19 order, which was issued in March, is lifted.

Peduto's decision to introduce the legislation comes after weeks of rapidly rising coronavirus cases across the city. Over the past two weeks, coronavirus case numbers for both Pennsylvania and Allegheny County have set several records, soaring past previously established daily case number highs. There is little evidence that the current federal government is taking steps to provide relief or aid to those financially affected by the pandemic.

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