Washington employers, do you know aboutSeattle’s sick and Seattle’s sick and safe time law yet? time law yet? To surmise, the Sick and Safe Leave ordinance (Seattle Municipal Code 14.16) requires businesses located within the city of Seattle to provide paid sick and safe leave to their employees (notice that we did not say independent contractors), the amount of which depends on how many full-time employees a company has. Different thanWashington Washington Family Medical Leave Act Medical Leave Act, what paid sick time is really providing for is paid days off work when an employee has the flu or cold. Safe time refers to necessary time away from work for safety reasons.
The Seattle ordinance breaks down the amount of time an employer must give employees time of into three tiers; with time off ranging from 5-9 paid sick leave days a year. This mandatory sick time begins to accrue upon employment but will not be made available until after 180 days on the job.
Here’s the more controversial aspect of the Section 14.16– the same requirement not only applies to companies in Seattle but also companies OUTSIDE of Seattle if the company meets the following requirements:
· More than two years old
· And employs more than 4 full-time employees, at least one of which works 240 hours per year in Seattle
240 hours may sound like a big number, but it actually ends up being just shy of six weeks out of the year to make a company subject to these requirements. How exactly are they going to track this? The Ordinance places an affirmative obligation on employers to keep fairly meticulous records of the amount of time an employee spends within the Seattle city limits to see if it ultimately adds up to 240 hours. Not surprisingly, many companies based outside of Seattle are not too happy about the city imposing a costly obligation on them.
The reality here is that many Seattle and Washington companies already provide for some type of paid sick days for their full and part time employees. In those scenarios, this does not add to their existing policy, just places a minimum amount for those companies that may have only provided for a couple days. With Seattle’s sick law in place, those employees that should receive this paid time off but are denied it, should speak with aWashington Washington employment attorney attorney about their issues. And those employers within or outside of Seattle that are affected by Section 14.16 should also get in touch with a local attorney for clarification on the matter.
Interestingly enough, only four other cities nationwide have a law requiring paid sick leave: San Francisco, Washington D.C., Long Beach, Portland.
What do you think…should Seattle’s rules stay within the city limits or does it make sense to apply this requirement to companies that do some form of business within the city?