Pennsylvania Employers, This is 2020
Each new year brings new laws that apply to the workplace. Here’s the story about those laws that will touch the lives of Pennsylvania employers and employees alike.
New Federal Overtime Rule
More than 60,000 Pennsylvanians working in managerial positions in the service industry and retail sectors, among others, are expected to see a pay increase effective immediately as the new federal overtime rule became effective January 1, 2020. The law provides that salaried workers making less than $35,500 per year must be paid time-and-a-half for all hours worked in excess of 40 in one workweek. Despite bills circulated in the Pennsylvania legislature to increase the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour, Pennsylvania minimum wage remains $7.25, consistent with the federal requirement.
Pennsylvania Disallows Fluctuating Workweek Method for Compensating Overtime
There has been a lot of confusion among Pennsylvania employers about the fluctuating workweek method of compensating overtime, because at about the same time that the U.S. DOL issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on the federal regulations, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a decision about Pennsylvania’s wage law that disallows using the fluctuating workweek method of calculating overtime pay. Leech Tishman Employment Attorney Sally Griffith Cimini issued a Client Alert about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision on January 8, 2020, which can be accessed by clicking here.
New W-4 Form for New Hires
For the first time in more than 30 years, the IRS has redesigned the form which determines how much federal income tax is withheld from employee paychecks. The new form, available here, https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf, should be used by all employers for all 2020 hires. Employees now have different filing status choices in the revised form. There are also more options for workers who have changed jobs, dependents, or filing status. The “total number of allowances” section has been replaced with questions about income and dependents. Instead of calculating the number of allowances, which translates into a certain amount of tax withheld (the more allowances, the less money is withheld), the form asks questions about your income and dependents designed to lead to more accurate withholding
Continuing employees who don’t want to change their withholding don’t have to fill out the new form. Those who want to change their withholding due to a job change, marriage, divorce, birth or adoption will need to complete the new W-4 form.
Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Leave Law Effective March 15, 2020
After more than four years of legal challenges, the city of Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Act becomes effective March 15, 2020. The Act applies to all full-time and part-time employees who work in Pittsburgh except for state and federal employees, members of a construction union covered by a collective bargaining agreement, and seasonal employees who are notified in writing when they are hired that they will work no more than 16 weeks during the calendar year. For coverage to apply, employees must log at least 35 hours or more in Pittsburgh per year.
Employers with a paid leave policy, such as a paid time off policy are not required to provide additional sick time if the paid leave provided is sufficient to meet the Act’s accrual requirements. The guidelines clarify that if employers offer paid leave that is more generous than what the law requires, the amount of leave that exceeds what the law requires is not subject to the Ordinance. Employers who do not currently extend any paid leave to part-time employees who perform services in the City will need to develop a policy extending some measure of paid leave to its part-time employees.
Sick time accrual depends on the number of employees working for the employer:
Employers with 15 or more employees: Employees accrue at least one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours worked in Pittsburgh, up to 40 hours per calendar year (which can be any 12-month period designated by the employer).
Employers with fewer than 15 employees: Employees accrue at least one hour of sick time for every 35 hours worked in Pittsburgh, up to 24 hours per calendar year. For the first year following the Act’s effective date, sick time may be unpaid. Thereafter, sick time must be paid.
At their discretion, employers may frontload or otherwise advance sick time prior to its accrual. Exempt employees will be assumed to work 40 hours per week unless they are regularly scheduled to work fewer than 40 hours. Employers may impose a 90-day waiting period, during which employees will accrue sick time but cannot use it.
Employers can prepare for the Ides of March by:
- Reviewing existing policies to determine whether current sick leave or other paid time off policies meet or exceed all of the Act’s requirements, including notice mandates. If you do not currently provide paid sick leave or PTO, promptly develop and implement a compliant leave policy.
- Developing or reviewing current recordkeeping practices to ensure that they satisfy the Act’s mandates.
- Training managers on the Act’s requirements.
- Ensuring that the required notice is posted and provided to employees by March 15, 2020, a link to which is provided: https://apps.pittsburghpa.gov/redtail/images/8014_NOTICE_PAID_SICK_FINAL_12-16-19_-_Rev._12-17-19.pdf
To learn more about these developments or other employment law issues, please contact Leech Tishman’s Employment Practice Group.
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Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl is a full-service law firm dedicated to assisting individuals, businesses, and institutions. Leech Tishman offers legal services in alternative dispute resolution, aviation & aerospace, bankruptcy & creditors’ rights, construction, corporate, employee benefits, employment, energy, environmental, estates & trusts, family law, government relations, immigration, insurance coverage & corporate risk mitigation, intellectual property, internal investigations, international legal matters, litigation, real estate, and taxation. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Leech Tishman also has offices in El Segundo, CA, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Sarasota and Wilmington, DE.