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Both Sides On Paid Sick Leave Speak Up Ahead Of Allegheny County Public Hearing

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The topic of paid sick leave is back in Allegheny County. Next week marks the end of a 30-day public comment period before the proposal heads back to the County Board of Health.

"There aren't many benefits in the industry we got healthcare, but it was bare minimum," said Taylor Stessney with PGH Restaurant Workers Aid.

Stessney is a former bartender fighting for countywide paid sick leave.

"You shouldn't have to make that difficult decision. You should be able to care for yourself or get stressed out to leverage giving up a phone bill for the month," Stessney said.

The bill is the topic of a public hearing with the Board of Health next week. If passed, workers would accrue at least one hour of paid sick time for every 35 hours of work up to a maximum of 40 sick hours.

"That's investment in your workers, and if workers are getting that respect back from their ownership. Bosses need to care for their own employees," Stessney said.

But the point of contention on the Board is the fact that this bill would only impact businesses in the county with 26 or more employees.

"I cut about 75 checks at Off the Hook and 55 checks at Napa Prime Chophouse. So why would that make my employee any different than any other employee at any other business?" said Glenn Hawley who owns the two restaurants in Warrendale.

Hawley told KDKA he already gives three sick call offs to all his employees and believes this bill would create stress on the payroll side.

"It really is a constraint to make sure we follow this rule correctly, and I've read a little where it rolls into the next year. Paid Sick Leave: we all understand the concept behind it, it's the cost of dealing with it not just for the employee itself but for the actual administration side," Hawley said.

The County Board of Health will hear both sides in a public hearing next Thursday, June 24 at 5 p.m. You can still sign up through Wednesday to speak at the meeting.

As for those board members, they told KDKA they can't comment during this 30-day public comment period.

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