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Seattle Paid Sick Leave and Safe Leave Ordinance Takes Effect September 1, 2012

On September 12, 2011, Seattle City Council passed Ordinance #123698 establishing minimum standards for the provision of paid sick/safe leave. When the ordinance takes effect on September 1, 2012 covered employers will be required to provide paid sick/safe leave to their employees, with some exceptions.


Berntson Porter's purpose in sending you this BP Blast is to provide you the location of resource documents that will guide your company in accurately following the ordinance provisions. A variety of implementation materials and resources are available at the website, including a reader-friendly brochure, an FAQ, the full text of the Ordinance, the administrative rules, and the required poster.


Below is a summary of the ordinance's key provisions:


Which employers does the ordinance cover?
Employers with 5 or more "full-time equivalent employees" (FTEs) are required to provide paid sick/safe leave to covered employees. An employer's specific obligations depend on the number of the employer's FTEs.


Which employees does the ordinance cover?
The ordinance applies to full-time, part-time, and temporary employees who perform more than 240 hours of work in Seattle within a calendar year. Employees who occasionally work in Seattle are covered if they perform more than 240 hours of work in Seattle within a calendar year.

What is "Sick Time"?

Sick Time relates to paid time off for diagnosis, care or treatment of a condition, preventative care, health or mental illness and/or care for a family member for any of the aforementioned. "Family Member" includes children, parents, parents-in-law, spouse or domestic partner, and grandparents.


What is "Safe Time"?

Safe Time relates to paid time off due to government closures of businesses or schools due to hazardous or infectious contaminants; to seek treatment or counseling due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; to obtain legal or law enforcement assistance related to the health or safety of the employee or family member and to plan for the safety of the employee or family members. Employees are not entitled to use of paid safe time when an employee's place of business, or when the school or place of care of an employee's child, has been closed due to inclement weather or power loss.


For complete contact information for the City of Seattle Office of Civil Rights and further clarification on the Sick/Safe Leave Ordinance #123698, please visit Should you need tax and accounting guidance, please contact Berntson Porter at 425-454-7990.


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