Sick Times in Seattle: A New Ordinance Provides Generous Leave for Seattle Employees

Beginning on September 1, 2012, a new law in Seattle will require certain employers to offer paid sick and safe time ("PSST") to employees who work within Seattle city limits. The Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance applies to all companies with employees working in Seattle whether on a full-time, part-time, or temporary basis. The Ordinance also will apply to employees who work in Seattle on an occasional basis, where they work more than 240 hours per calendar year.

The Ordinance requires employers to provide eligible employees paid time off work due to illness or a safety issue. Employees may use PSST leave:

  • For their own illness, injury, or health condition, or to care for a family member (including domestic partners) with an illness, injury or medical appointment.
  • When their place of business or child's school or place of care is closed by order of a public official for health reasons.
  • For reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

The amount of time that the employer must provide to eligible employees depends on the size of the employer. Employers with more than 4 but fewer than 250 employees, including employees working outside of Seattle (called Tier 1 and Tier 2 employers), must provide employees with one hour of PSST leave for every 40 hours worked. Employers with 250 or more total employees (called Tier 3 employers) must provide employees working in Seattle with one hour of PSST leave for every 30 hours worked. The Ordinance caps the amount of PSST leave that an employee may use in a year and/or carry-over into the next year. The caps, too, depend on the size/Tier status of the employer.

Posted in
Filed under