On September 1, 2012, Seattle will implement the Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance.    This is a new requirement for employers that have employees working in Seattle, who telecommute in Seattle or stop in Seattle as a purpose of their work.   Note, this ordinance is based on where the employee works and not where the employer is domiciled.  Due to this, many employers outside of Seattle will need to comply with this ordinance.

What benefits must be provided?

The benefit is based on the size of the employer.  Note an employer must count all full-time equivalent employees to determine which tier they fall under.  When counting employees you must include employees working in or out of Seattle. Small Employer (4 - 49 employees)
  • Accrue 1 hour/40 hours worked for sick/safe time
  • 40 hours/calendar year for sick/safe time
  • Carryover 40 hours/calendar year of unused sick/safe time
Medium Employer (50 - 249 employees)
  • Accrue 1 hour/40 hours worked for sick/safe time
  • 56 hours/calendar year for sick/safe time
  • Carryover 56 hours/calendar year of unused sick/safe time
Large Employer (250+ employees)
  • Accrue 1 hour/30 hours worked for sick/safe time
  • 72 hours/calendar year for sick/safe time
  • Carryover 72 hours/calendar year of unused sick/safe time

What can Sick Time be used for?

  • Personal illness or preventative care
  • Care for a family member's illness or preventative care

What can Safe Time be used for?

  • Survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
  • Closure of workplace or child's school or place of care by a public official to limit exposure to infectious agent, biological toxin or hazardous material

How do employers comply With this ordinance?

The ordinance has many requirements that the employer and employee must abide by including when the hours begin to accrue, when employees may request time off, and how to administer the carryover of hours.  The Seattle Office for Civil Rights has issued a great overview for employers at www.seattle.gov.  Employers should also reference the Administrative Rules for Paid Sick/Safe Time Ordinance so they're aware of all the required policies and procedures. After reviewing the details of the ordinance, employers will need to review their current PTO policy to confirm that it meets the requirements of the ordinance.  If not, the PTO policy must be revised to meet the minimum requirements. Employers should update their handbook with their new PTO provision and specify that they comply with the Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time ordinance.

What are the employer notification requirements?

Employers are required to post the Paid Sick & Safe Time poster in their office.  In addition, employers must distribute to current and future employees a Paid Sick & Safe Time brochure so they are aware of this ordinance.  You may also find a sample model notice here.