Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor: "We need this to help people right away, we can’t waste our time."By Lindsay Ward

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh City Council has voted unanimously to approve Mayor Bill Peduto’s COVID-19 paid sick leave proposal.

With the passage of the bill, thousands of employees across the city can now get additional paid time off if they test positive for the coronavirus or are exposed.

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“We need guidelines, we need this to help people right away, we can’t waste our time,” Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor said.

For some, taking time off to quarantine because of a COVID-19 diagnosis could mean a heavy financial burden.

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“Even if you come into contact with it, the doctor is telling you to stay home,” Councilman O’Connor said. “So now all of a sudden, me getting my paycheck, I can’t even do that, and I don’t even have it. I think that’s the biggest issue.”

According to the mayor’s office, the COVID-19 sick leave bill could give employees of businesses with 50 or more workers up to 112 hours of paid sick leave. However, there are amendments. Not all city employees will necessarily benefit.

“If you’re already covered by a union, or something like that,” Councilman O’Connor said, “so not everybody within the city departments get it.”

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This just-passed sick leave would be handled separately from the city’s existing paid sick day requirements and would stay in place until the city’s emergency declaration, which has been in place since March, is lifted.

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O’Connor says City Council was determined to move this along. It will take effect in January.