I thought I’d post my findings on how our company will be impacted by the new Seattle sick and safety leave ordinance that is kicking in on September 1st. I’m sure there are a lot of companies in the same position as us.
The new ordinance states that employers within the city of Seattle must give sick and safety leave to all employees, regardless of how many hours they work or their employment status. This means that the ordinance applies to any employee on payroll, including part time and temporary workers. It also applies to employees who may be assigned to a location outside of Seattle but occasionally work within the city limits (for example, an employee at Starbucks who usually works in Federal Way but is sent to a Seattle store to cover for someone on vacation for a couple of weeks; they would earn sick leave for those hours worked in Seattle).
There are minimums in place for what employers must offer: 1 hour of sick/safety leave per 40 hours worked, with a maximum carry-over of 40 hours at the end of each calendar year.
Employees will be able to use their accrued PSST as paid time off:
- To deal with their own illness, injury or health condition.
- To take care of a family member (including domestic partners) with an illness, injury or medical appointment.
- When their place of business has been closed by order of a public official for health reasons.
- For reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Companies can offer more generous accruals of sick leave, but not less. My company already provides sick leave (we do it as “PTO”, or Personal Time Off) to all full time employees in amounts higher than the new ordinance, but we do not currently offer this benefit to part time or temporary employees.
My question was whether we are able to have two levels of sick leave benefits for different classes of employees (full time vs part time/temporary) and the answer is yes: we can maintain our current PTO benefit as-is for our full time employees and offer a lower sick leave benefit to any part time and/or temporary employees, provided it meets the minimums set forth in the new ordinance.