Seattle Office For Civil Rights Pub lishes Revised Administrative Rules For City of Seattle Paid Sick/Safe Time Ordinance

By Jillian Barron and Jennifer A. Parda

The clock is ticking toward September 1, 2012, the date on which Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance (“the Ordinance”) will go into effect. Every employer that has employees who spend any time in Seattle should take notice. The Seattle Office for Civil Rights, the administrative body charged with overseeing and enforcing the Ordinance, recently released amended proposed administrative rules that cover aspects of the Ordinance’s implementation, such as how sick time will accrue, notice requirements for employers, notice requirements for employees, and employee documentation.

The Ordinance will have far-reaching implications for employers who have employees that work in Seattle—whether regularly or occasionally—even if the employer has existing sick leave or personal time off policies. In general, the Ordinance requires employers with five or more employees to provide a specified amount of sick leave time to covered employees for use when the employee or his/her family member is ill. It additionally requires employers to provide employees with safe leave time for use under specific circumstances, including when an employee’s child’s school or childcare facility is closed for public safety reasons. More specifically, the Ordinance contains numerous detailed requirements addressing leave accrual, leave carry-over, issues related to employee reinstatement and recordkeeping requirements, to name a few. The proposed amended rules address these specific requirements and may assist employers in understanding their obligations under the Ordinance.

To ensure compliance with the Ordinance’s detailed provisions, impacted employers (that is, any employer that has at least one employee performing more than 240 hours of work in Seattle in a calendar year) should gain an understanding of the Ordinance. They should further analyze their existing policies and make revisions where necessary to satisfy the Ordinance’s mandates.

The administrative rules, which can be found on the Seattle Office for Civil Rights’ website, (, will define the terms of the Ordinance and will guide the manner in which the Seattle Office for Civil Rights oversees and enforces the Ordinance. Notably, employers and members of the public have until June 13, 2012 to comment on the amended proposed rules before the Seattle Office for Civil Rights finalizes them later in the month. The final rules will be formulated based on comments and questions received from employers and the public. You may submit comments to or in writing to the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, 810 Third Ave., Suite 750, Seattle, Washington 98104-1627.

If you have questions regarding the Ordinance or require assistance in reviewing and revising your existing policies and practices to ensure compliance, please contact Jillian Barron or Jennifer Parda.


This Employer Alert is written to inform our clients and friends of developments in labor and employment relations law. It is not intended nor should it be used as a substitute for specific legal advice or opinions since legal counsel may be given only in response to inquiries regarding particular factual situations. For more information on this subject, please call Sebris Busto James at (425) 454-4233. © 2012 SEBRIS BUSTO JAM