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CityLink Seattle

Seattle’s new Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance

Two more Community Forums to discuss the Paid Sick/Safe Leave Ordinance

Come give input about implementation of Seattle’s new Paid Sick Leave ordinance at Community Forums on February 1 and 9:

Wednesday, February 1, 7-8:30 p.m.
Roosevelt High School, The Commons Room, 1410 NE 66th St.

Thursday, February 9, 7-8:30 p.m.
Jefferson Community Center, Hassselburg Hall, 3801 Beacon Ave S

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights has scheduled these events to:

  • Provide an update on the City’s plans to implement the law beginning September 1, 2012.
  • Identify issues that need to be addressed in the Rules.
  • Ask questions about how the law will work.

Frequently Asked Questions posted;
Community forums scheduled to discuss the Paid Sick/Safe Leave Ordinance

On September 23, 2011, an ordinance was signed into law mandating all employers operating within Seattle city limits to provide paid sick/safe leave to their employees (Ordinance #123698). Seattle now joins San Francisco, California and Washington D.C. in requiring employers to offer this benefit to employees.

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) is responsible for administering and enforcing this ordinance, which takes effect on September 1, 2012. SOCR also will provide technical assistance to employers and employees.

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page addresses some of the most common questions about the ordinance. Thank you to all of the employers and others who contacted SOCR with questions and concerns.

Do you have a question that isn’t covered by this FAQ? Would you like to be added to an e-mail update list? Contact Elliott Bronstein at 206-684-4507 or elliott.bronstein@seattle.gov.

PDF for download: paid Sick/Safe Leave FAQ document

Summary of the Ordinance 

Timeline for implementing the ordinance

Paid Sick/Safe Leave Ordinance

Seattle map showing city boundaries


Summary of the Ordinance

Summary of Seattle’s new Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance         Ordinance summary – download version

On September 12, 2011, Seattle City Council passed Ordinance #123698, establishing minimum standards for the provision of paid sick and paid 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.

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) is responsible for developing rules to administer the ordinance, and to enforce the ordinance once it goes into effect. SOCR also is available to provide technical assistance to employers and employees. For more information, please call 206-684-4507, e-mail elliott.bronstein@seattle.gov, or fill out a Customer Feedback form.

Below is a summary of the ordinance’s key provisions. SOCR will release a more detailed FAQ document in December to address a variety of specific questions from employers, employees and the general public. If you have a question you’d like answered, or if you wish to be added to our contact list, please contact Elliott Bronstein at 206-684-4507 or by e-mail.

When does the ordinance go into effect?
The ordinance goes into effect on September 1, 2012.

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. The ordinance does not apply to work study employees and employees of other government employers.

Which employers does the ordinance cover?
Ordinance summary – download version 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.

How do employees accrue the paid sick/safe leave benefit?
Employees’ accrual rate depends on the size of the employer:

    • Tier One – 5 to 49 FTEs: Employees accrue 1 hour for every 40 hours worked, up to a 40 hour cap (5 days).
    • Tier Two – 50 to 249 FTEs: Employees accrue 1 hour for every 40 hours worked, up to a 56 hour cap (7 days).
    • Tier Three – over 250 FTEs: Employees accrue 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, up to a 72 hour cap (9 days).

Timeline for implementing the ordinance

Timeline for Implementation: Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance

January / February 2012 
Community forums hosted by SOCR to hear the public’s questions and suggestions regarding implementation of the ordinance, and to make sure that the Rules address these topics:

Tuesday, January 24, 2-3:30 p.m.
Seattle City Hall, Bertha Landis Room

Wednesday, February 1, 7-8:30 p.m.
Roosevelt High School, The Commons Room, 1410 NE 66th St.

Thursday, February 9, 7-8:30 p.m.
Jefferson Community Center, Hassselburg Hall, 3801 Beacon Ave S

March 2012 
Rules made available to the public for comment for 30 days.

April 2012
Public hearing(s) scheduled to discuss Rules.

May 2012 
Rules finalized.

May 2012 through October 2012 
SOCR will hire a part-time campaign person/firm to ensure employers and employees in Seattle are aware of how the new law works:

    • May / June: Materials and planning
    • July / August: Pre-9/1/12 information campaign
    • September / October: Post-9/1/12 information campaign

PDF for download: Summary of the ordinanceTimeline for Implementation: Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance


Seattle map showing city boundaries

Click here for a Seattle map that shows the city’s boundary lines.

Click on the “Parcels” layer in the first section, “Base Map Layers” to add lines that define the north and south limits of the City of Seattle. Click on “Building Outlines” to view specific lots; zoom in to read street names.