Seattle’s Paid Sick/Safe Leave Ordinance
Beginning September 2, 2012, employees working in Seattle are entitled to accrue and use Paid Sick and Safe Leave (PSSL) under Seattle’s new ordinance. Below are helpful articles, links and materials which will help you to understand and put into practice these new policies.
The Seattle Office for Civil Rights recently released its final regulations for the new Paid Sick/Safe Time ordinance. They arrived not a moment too soon, because the ordinance goes into effect on September 1, 2012. If you haven’t already started planning for compliance, you should now.
The new law will require businesses to accrue and provide paid sick and safe leave for employees when they or their family members are ill or are a victim of domestic violence. The law also includes notice and posting requirements to employees, as well as record keeping and reporting.
Summary of Seattle’s new Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance
Source: Seattle Office for Civil Rights
On September 12, 2011, Seattle City Council passed Ordinance #123698, establishing minimum standards for the provision of paid sick and paid safe leave. When the ordinance takes effect on September 1, 2012, covered employers will be required to provide paid sick/safe leave to their employees, with some exceptions.
The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) is responsible for developing rules to administer the ordinance, and to enforce the ordinance once it goes into effect. SOCR also is available to provide technical assistance to employers and employees. For more information. Below is a summary of the ordinance’s key provisions. SOCR will release a more detailed FAQ document in December to address a variety of specific questions from employers, employees and the general public. If you have a question you’d like answered, please email public information officer, Elliott Bronstein or call 206-684-4507.
Which employees does the ordinance cover?
The ordinance applies to full-time, part-time, and temporary employees who perform more than 240 hours of work in Seattle within a calendar year. Employees who occasionally work in Seattle are covered if they perform more than 240 hours of work in Seattle within a calendar year. The ordinance does not apply to work study employees and employees of other government employers.
Which employers does the ordinance cover?
Ordinance summary – download version Employers with 5 or more “full-time equivalent employees” (FTEs) are required to provide paid sick/safe leave to covered employees. An employer’s specific obligations depend on the number of the employer’s FTEs.
How do employees accrue the Paid Sick/Safe Leave benefit?
Employees’ accrual rate depends on the size of the employer:
- Tier One – More than 4 and fewer than 50 FTEs: Employees accrue 1 hour for every 40 hours worked, up to a 40-hour cap.
- Tier Two – At least 50 and fewer than 250 FTEs: Employees accrue 1 hour for every 40 hours worked, up to a 56-hour cap.
- Tier Three – Employers with 250 or more FTEs: Employees accrue 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, up to a 72-hour cap.
- Full text of the Paid Sick & Safe Leave Ordinance
- Timeline of ordinance
- PSSL article – from WLA allied member Clark Nuber
- The Nitty Gritty on Seattle’s New Sick & Safe Leave Ordinance – blog posting from WLA allied member Cairncross & Hempelmann
- Seattle Office for Civil Rights
- Davis Wright Tremaine LLP-attorneys with expertise in the PSSL ordinance