Seattle’s new law requiring paid sick and safe time leave is set to take effect September 1, and the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) has published final rules defining some of the responsibilities of employers that have employees working in Seattle.
The law means that employees in Seattle will accrue paid time for use when an employee or family member needs to take time off from work because of illness or a critical safety issue, according to the SOCR website. The ordinance applies to employers with more than four full-time equivalent employees, and all employees are eligible for the benefit, including full-time, part-time, and temporary workers.
SOCR says employees can use their accrued paid sick and safe time to deal with their own illness, injury, or health condition; to take care of a family member (including domestic partners) with an illness, injury, or medical appointment; when their place of business has been closed by order of a public official for health reasons; and for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
How time accrues is determined based on an employer’s number of employees.
Tier 1 employers are those with 4 to 49 employees. Those employees will accrue 1 hour of leave for every 40 hours worked, they can use 40 hours per calendar year, and they can carry over 40 hours of unused time per calendar year.
Tier 2 employers are those with 50 to 249 employees. Those employees will accrue 1 hour for every 40 hours worked, they can use up to 56 hours in a calendar year, and they can carry over 56 hours of unused time per calendar year.
Tier 3 employers are those with 250 or more employees. Those employees will accrue 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, they can use up to 72 hours in a calendar year, and they can carry over 72 hours of unused time per calendar year.
The law contains some exceptions. It doesn’t cover federal government employers, state government entities, counties, and local governments other than the city of Seattle.
Keep up with the latest developments in Washington state law with the Washington Employment Law Letter