The PTO Laws You Must Follow in Pennsylvania

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No Pennsylvania PTO laws exist requiring employers to pay workers for sick time, vacation, bereavement, and other forms of leave. However, state employees may be entitled to some paid leave.

Although the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania doesn’t mandate paid leave for most employers, the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have their own laws regarding PTO. Allegheny County also requires payment for sick leave. Any employers falling within one of these jurisdictions must adhere to that jurisdiction’s PTO laws.  

Because Pennsylvania PTO laws are more jurisdiction-based than state-based, this guide will detail what each jurisdiction requires regarding paid leave. I’ll also dig into other forms of leave and what Pennsylvania requires to keep you informed of your requirements as an employer or benefits as an employee. 

Pennsylvania Accrual Requirements

Pennsylvania leaves paid leave up to its smaller jurisdictions. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Allegheny County are the only jurisdictions in the state with paid sick leave requirements for employees, and they each have their own accrual mandates. Here’s what you need to know.

Pittsburgh Accrual Requirements

Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave legislation went into effect in 2020. Only employers with at least 15 employees must offer paid sick time, while those with fewer than 15 employees have to provide unpaid sick time for one year, switching to paid sick time after one year. Either way, earned sick time in Pittsburgh accrues at the rate of one hour per 35 hours worked.

Also, employers with at least 15 employees can accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick time annually. Those with fewer than 15 employees must allow employees to accrue up to 24 hours of unpaid leave during the first year and up to 24 hours of paid sick time once they qualify for it after the first year. 

Philadelphia Accrual Requirements

Philadelphia’s paid sick leave law provides employees with one hour of earned sick time for every 40 hours worked. Employees can accrue up to 40 hours per year.

Similar to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia allows small businesses with fewer than 10 employees to only offer unpaid sick time at the same accrual rate. However, paid sick time isn’t required for these employers, even after employees work a certain amount of time with the company. 

Allegheny County Accrual Requirements

Allegheny County’s paid sick leave laws were enforced beginning in 2022. Businesses within Allegheny County must provide one hour of paid sick time per 35 hours worked. Employees can earn up to 40 hours annually and can begin using their accrued sick time after waiting 90 days from the date of their employment. 

Only employers with 26 or more employees must provide paid sick time in Allegheny County.

Pennsylvania Roll Over Requirements

Pennsylvania’s jurisdictions that mandate paid sick leave also have varying requirements for how to handle whether an employee can roll over unused hours into the next year.

Pittsburgh Roll Over Requirements

Pittsburgh employers do have to allow employees to roll over their unused paid sick time from one year to the next, up to 40 hours per year. However, companies that provide at least 40 hours of sick time at the beginning of the year are not mandated to allow rollover for unused hours.

Philadelphia Roll Over Requirements

Philadelphia companies required to pay employees for sick time can frontload at least 40 hours of sick time to avoid unused sick time rollover. Otherwise, they must allow employees to carry over at least 40 hours of unused sick time to the next year. 

Allegheny County Roll Over Requirements

Employers under Allegheny County’s jurisdiction that are required to pay employees for sick leave do need to allow employees to roll over their hours from one year to the next if they use an accrual system. Companies that frontload hours at the beginning of the year do not need to allow rollover. 

Employers do not need to allow more than 40 hours accrued at any time, but they can offer more than this in a PTO policy if they choose. 

Pennsylvania PTO Payout Requirements

The PTO laws for each Pennsylvania jurisdiction also outline how companies should approach calculating the pay for paid sick leave and whether they’re required to pay employees for unused earned sick time if they get fired, are laid off, retire, or otherwise separate from the company.

Pittsburgh PTO Payout Requirements

Employees in Pittsburgh covered under its PTO laws are entitled to sick time paid at the same rate that they usually earn. Hourly employees, then, receiving $25 per hour will also get paid for the amount of sick time they use at the rate of $25 per hour. 

To calculate a salaried employee’s hourly rate, employers should use an assumed 40-hour workweek unless the employee typically works fewer hours than 40 each week. In that case, employers can use the employee’s usual number of hours.

Pittsburgh doesn’t require employers to payout unused sick time when an employee separates from the company. Still, earned sick time records should be kept for at least two years for each employee.

Philadelphia PTO Payout Requirements

Philadelphia employees receiving paid sick time through the city’s ordinance get paid for sick time at their usual hourly rate. Exempt employees are assumed to have a 40-hour workweek, but those usually working less hours can have their sick time calculated and paid using their typical workweek hours.

Employees who do not use their sick time before separating from a company are not required to receive a payout of earned sick time from their employer. Employee records of sick time must be held and maintained for at least two years. 

Allegheny County PTO Payout Requirements

Allegheny County specifies that employers not only pay their employees the same rate of pay for earned sick time but also continue to provide benefits that employees would have accrued if they were working during that time, like healthcare or paid family leave. Salaried employee pay is calculated using a standard 40-hour workweek or the employee’s typical weekly hours if less than 40.

Employers do not have to pay out unused sick time upon an employee’s separation, but employees rehired within six months of the separation can have their unused time reinstated. A two-year record of earned sick time for each employee is required.

Other Pennsylvania Paid Leave Laws

Although Pennsylvania doesn’t offer other forms of paid leave to most employees, it does have a paid family leave law for state employees. 

The Paid Parental Leave policy entitles full and part-time permanent employees of Pennsylvania to receive up to six weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child or the placement of a child up for adoption. Employees are eligible once they’ve worked for Pennsylvania for at least 12 months.

Otherwise, all employees in Pennsylvania are entitled to benefits provided by federal law, known as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This law provides employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for themselves or a qualifying family member. Employees caring for a family service member may receive up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave. 

Pennsylvania employers providing unpaid or paid family leave should be sure to align their policies with the FMLA to offer at least the minimum number of FMLA weeks to employees.

You can learn more about what Pennsylvania requires employers to provide workers regarding wages, overtime pay, benefits, and other pay requirements via the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

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