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Advancing the rights of working families.


Overview of Seattle’s Paid Sick Time Campaign

On September 12, 2011, the Seattle City Council voted 8-1 to pass an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick time.

Mayor Mike McGinn signed the bill into law on September 23, 2011.  For the 190,000 workers in Seattle who lack paid sick time, this is terrific news!  The Mayor signed the bill at Plum Bistro, one of the many small businesses that expressed support for the bill.

Click here to read a powerful article from Councilmember Godden, who co-sponsored the bill in the Seattle City Council. 

About Seattle's Paid Sick Time Law

The Seattle bill will allow workers in the city to accrue and use up to 5 days of paid sick time annually if they work for an employer with 5 to 49 full-time employees (or full-time equivalents).   Those who work for employers with 50 to 249 full-time employees can accrue and use up to 7 days of paid sick time a year.  Finally, those individuals who work for an employer with 250 or more full-time employees can accrue and use up to 9 days of paid sick time a year (or 108 hours, if these large employers have a universal paid time off policy that allows available paid leave to be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions as the paid sick time law).  The law exempts employers with 4 or fewer employees.

Under the law, workers can use paid sick time to recover from their own illness or to care for sick family members.  The statute also allows time to be used for certain safety needs related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and when an employee’s workplace or child’s school is closed by a public health official for public health reasons.

Seattle’s paid sick time law took effect on September 1, 2012, and it is being enforced by the city’s Office for Civil Rights.  

For More Information

For more information on the Seattle campaign for paid sick time, please visit the website of the Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce.

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights has conducted outreach about the law, and the Office's website contains numerous fact sheets, a video on the law, and other informational materials.

For more information on the Seattle law, see A Better Balance’s chart of paid sick time laws and the full text of the law.

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