Barran Liebman

As a complimentary service to our clients, Barran Liebman LLP provides valuable Electronic Alerts that summarize new case law, statutes, and regulations that may impact your business.

» Subscribe To E-Alerts

New Ordinance Requires Paid Sick and Safe Time for All Employees in Seattle
September 30, 2011
By Barran Liebman LLP

The Seattle city council recently passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid "sick and safe" time off to employees who work in Seattle. In short, employees must be allowed to use the leave to care for certain illnesses, injuries, diagnoses, or preventative care, and also for certain reasons related to sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking or health-related building closures. The ordinance is expected to go into effect on September 1, 2012 and, as detailed below, will apply to nearly any employer that does more than a minimal amount of business inside city limits - even those not based in Seattle.

Here is some of the basic information about the ordinance:

Covered employees: Employees are covered by the ordinance if they "perform their work in Seattle." Employees who work in Seattle on an occasional basis are covered if they perform more than 240 hours of work per calendar year in Seattle. Traditional, temporary, and part-time workers are included, but individuals performing services under a work-study agreement are not.

Covered employers: Employers with fewer than five employees do not need to provide paid sick or safe time to employees. An employer with five or more employees must, however, provide a certain amount of paid sick and safe time off, depending on where it falls in the ordinance's "tier" system:

  • A "Tier One" employer (employing between 5 and 49 full-time equivalent ("FTE") employees on average per calendar week during the preceding calendar year) must provide employees with at least one hour of paid sick or safe time per 40 hours worked, up to a minimum of 40 hours annually.
  • A "Tier Two" employer (employing between 50 and 249 FTE employees on average per calendar week in the preceding calendar year) must provide employees with at least one hour of paid sick or safe time for every 40 hours worked, up to a minimum of 56 hours annually.
  • A "Tier Three" employer (employing 250 or more FTE employees on average per calendar week during the preceding calendar year) must provide employees with at least one hour of paid sick or safe time for every 30 hours worked, up to a minimum of 72 hours annually.

All employees, including those who work outside Seattle, must be counted in determining the number of full-time equivalent employees. "Full-time equivalent" means the number of hours worked for compensation that add up to one full-time employee, based either on an eight-hour day and a five-day week, or as defined (either in writing or in practice) by the employer.

The ordinance applies to any employer with at least one employee who works 240 hours or more per calendar year in Seattle. In other words, any employer that is based outside city limits, but employs at least one "covered employee" must provide that individual with paid sick or safe time.

The ordinance contains additional detailed provisions concerning permissible uses for leave, carryover, interaction with an employer's existing paid leave policies, and unused leave, among other topics. If you have questions about the applicability of the ordinance to your business, or any of the provisions of the ordinance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Electronic Alerts are written by Barran Liebman attorneys for their clients and friends. Alerts are not intended as legal advice, but as employment law, labor law, and employee benefits announcements. If this has been forwarded to you, and you would like to begin receiving Electronic Alerts directly, please email or call Traci Ray at 503-276-2115. Copyright © by Barran Liebman LLP.

Barran Liebman LLP

601 SW 2nd Avenue | Suite 2300 | Portland, Oregon 97204 | Tel. 503.228.0500 | Fax 503.274.1212

© Barran Liebman LLP | Contact | Sitemap | Terms Of Use