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Pittsburgh City Council Approves Paid Sick Leave Legislation

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh City Council on Monday approved an ordinance requiring employers in the city to provide paid sick leave to employees in the face of opposition from business owners who threatened a lawsuit over the legislation.

Council members and advocacy groups heralded the bill, which was passed 7-1, as a measure that will keep 50,000 workers who lack paid sick leave from choosing between working while ill and losing a day's pay.

Under the legislation, employers with at least 15 workers are required to offer as many 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. Seasonal employees are exempt from the law.

The benefit can be used for an employee's illness or that of a family member.

Business owners, however, said they will oppose the ordinance in court. Kevin Joyce, owner of The Carlton restaurant, said council can't force mandates on private businesses. Business groups will form a coalition to block the ordinance, he said.

Councilwoman Darlene Harris, who abstained from votes on the law, said she sought an opinion from the city's law department and was told it exceeded their authority.

"If this is passed and successfully challenged in court, it's going to be a costly mistake that the taxpayers will have to fund," Harris said.

Mayor Bill Peduto intends to sign the bill.

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(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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