Amendments to Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time

by | December 26, 2017

As the effective date of Statewide Paid Sick and Safe time quickly approaches, I have had several clients say to me, “We are covered by Seattle Sick and Safe, so we don’t have to worry.” This isn’t true for two reasons: 1) Just because you are covered by Seattle (or another city ordinance requiring paid sick/time) doesn’t mean Initiative 1433 doesn’t apply to you. Guess what, you have to comply with BOTH! If there are conflicts between state law and your local ordinance, you have to apply the law or rule that is most generous or favorable to employees and 2) Last week Seattle passed amendments to its local sick/safe time ordinance (partly to address conflicts between the local and state law). So, you have to revisit your sick leave policies anyway and make changes for January 2018. Here are the highlights of the Seattle changes:

  • Employers can no longer cap use of sick or safe time. For example, say that employees can only use a certain amount of paid time in a benefit year;
  • Employers can only impose a waiting period for use of 90 days (or less) – it used to be 180 days;
  • Paid time off can be used to take care of children of any age, not just minors;
  • Employers must include anti-retaliation provisions in their written policy;
  • Employers must allow carry over of a least 40 hours – cash out from year to year is only permitted for those hours accrued over 40.

Employers need to revisit their paid time off policies to ensure compliance. Equinox is happy to assist you in walking through these changes. Happy 2018!