Philadelphia, PA: COVID-19 Paid Leave Ordinance in Effect
All Employers with 25+ Employees in Philadelphia
March 10, 2022
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On March 10, 2022, Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Paid Leave Ordinance took effect. The Ordinance requires covered employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to covered employees for COVID-19 related purposes until December 31, 2023.
Who is a covered employer? A covered employer is any employer with 25 or more employees. Unfortunately, the Ordinance does not state whether this means that the employee count is only employees located in Philadelphia or if it is the total employee count of the employer. Philadelphia passed a similar ordinance in 2021 and stated that employers should only count employees covered by the law.
Who is a covered employee? A covered employee is an employee who has worked for a covered employer for at least 90 days and:
- Works in Philadelphia;
- Usually works in Philadelphia but currently works remotely because of COVID-19; or
- Works from multiple locations but spends at least 51% of the time working in Philadelphia.
A collective bargaining agreement can exempt union employees if the agreement includes a clear, unmistakable, and explicit waiver. The agreement must also provide paid leave benefits comparable to the Ordinance.
When can covered employees take leave? Covered employees can use leave:
- to self-isolate or care for a family member because of a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis, because of COVID-19 symptoms, or to seek a medical diagnosis or care related to COVID-19;
- to care for oneself or a family member because a public health official, health authority, health care provider, or employer has determined that the employee’s or family member’s presence puts others health at risk because of their exposure to COVID-19;
- to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine or booster and to recover from any side effects related to the vaccine or booster;
- to care for a child if the child’s school or place of care has been closed because of COVID-19.
How do covered employees earn leave? Employees do not accrue leave under the Ordinance. Rather, employers must provide leave based on the number of hours an employee works.
|Employee Hours Worked||Hours of Leave Allowed|
|40 or more hours per week||At least 40 hours (unless the employer provides a greater amount)|
|Fewer than 40 hours per week||Equal to the amount of time scheduled or actually worked on average in a 7-day period, whichever is greater (unless the employer provides a greater amount)|
|Variable hours||The average number of daily hours scheduled over the past 90 days of work, including hours of leave, multiplied by 7|
Employers must pay the employee’s regular rate of pay, including benefits, that the employee normally earns. To calculate this rate, employers should use the same formula used for overtime calculations.
How does the Ordinance work with employer PTO policies? Generally, employers cannot count other PTO they provide to reduce COVID-19 leave under the Ordinance. The only stated exceptions are:
- PTO policies that provide at least 120 hours of paid time in 2022. This includes all paid time off, not just for sick leave, so long as employees can use the PTO for the same reasons listed in the Ordinance.
- Current COVID paid leave policy. If a covered employer already has a specific COVID-19 PTO policy in place, they can keep that policy in place if it matches the benefits provided in the Ordinance.
- Remote workers. If employees complete the majority of their work remotely, employers can keep their existing policy if it allows for at least 80 hours of paid leave in 2022. Employees must be able to use the leave for the same reasons as provided in the Ordinance. If an employer currently has a policy in place that allows for less than 80 hours, they may also increase the hours to 80 in order to comply.
Are there any notice requirements? Covered employees only need to provide notice if it is practicable and only if the need is foreseeable. Employers can request a self-certified statement from a covered employee that leave was taken for a permissible reason.
Employers have until March 25, 2022, to provide employees with a required notice. It is expected that Philadelphia will provide a model notice to help employers comply.
- Have paid sick leave policies updated.
- Distribute the required notice when available.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on the new requirements.
- Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.
Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.
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