Pittsburgh City Council approves paid sick leave plan

Written by Tim Lambert and The Associated Press | Aug 4, 2015 2:48 AM

Photo by AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

FILE PHOTO: Shannon Henderson buckles her son, Justin, 1, into his car seat for the ride to his father's house before she goes to her job as a part-time customer service representative at Wal-Mart in Sacramento, Calif. Henderson is one of an estimated 40 million American workers for who calling in sick is a luxury. If they don't work, they don't get paid.

(Pittsburgh) -- The Pittsburgh City Council has approved an ordinance requiring city employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. 

Council members have passed the legislation 7-1.

The plan requires employers with at least 15 workers to offer as much as five paid sick days per year to each worker.

Those with fewer than 15 employees must offer three unpaid days off.

Employees would accrue one hour of sick time for every 35 hours worked. 

Amy Fetherolf, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Working Families, says a paid sick day here and there won't cost businesses much.

"These are things that actually do benefit businesses, because when you have employees going into work sick or they're concerned because one of their family members is sick and they have go to work anyway, it hurts their productivity," she says.

The benefit will be available for use for an employee's illness or that of a family member.

Council members and advocacy groups said the measure will keep 50,000 workers who lack paid sick leave from having to work while ill or lose a day's pay. 

Business owners, however, say they'll oppose the ordinance in court. 

Philadelphia passed similar legislation in February.

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