Washington Paid Sick Leave Law: Comparison to Seattle Paid Sick & Safe Time Ordinance

2018-01-01

On January 1, 2018, the paid sick leave law will take effect in the State of Washington. Under the law, non-exempt employees will be entitled to one hour paid sick leave for 40 hours of work. The following chart presents a summary of the law. A similar ordinance, the paid sick and paid safe time (“PSST”), has been already in effect in the City of Seattle. The chart shows a comparison of the new Washington law versus the existing Seattle ordinance. Please use the chart to see if either is applicable to your business.

WASHINGTON SEATTLE
Employer Size, Accrual, etc. WASHINGTON Minimum 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
Carried over to next year: minimum 40 hours of accrued, unused paid sick leave (more hours can be provided)
SEATTLE
Employer Size Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Number of FTE* per Week Employer Size Up to 49 More than 49 to 249 More than 249
Accrual/Hours Worked Employer Size 1H/40H 1H/40H 1H/30H
Usable Hours per Year Employer Size 40H 56H 72H
Carried Over Unused Time Employer Size 40H 56H 72(108**)H

* ”FTE” means full time equivalent employee. “Full time equivalent means” as follows:
1) The number of hours worked for compensation that add up to 1 full-time employee, based either on an 8-hour day and a 5-day week or as full-time is defined, in writing or in practice, by the employer;
2) Hours of work performed inside and outside the City of Seattle; and
3) Hours for work performed by all employees and through the services of a temporary services or staffing agency or similar entity are also included;
** 108 hours for Tier 3 employers with a paid time off (PTO) Policy.

Purposes of Use WASHINGTON 1) For employee’s or his/her family members’ mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition;
2) Closure of employee’s place of business or his/her child’s school or place of care due to a health-related reason; and
3) For reasons related to domestic violence (“DV”), sexual assault, or stalking.
SEATTLE 1) For employees’ or their family members’ mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition;
2) Closure of employees’ place of business or their child’s school or place of care due to a health- or safe-related reason; and
3) For reasons related to DV, sexual assault, or stalking.
Applicability to Exempt Employees WASHINGTON Not applicable. SEATTLE Applicable; provided however, no employer is required to accrue leave for such employees for hours worked beyond a 40-hour work week.
Starting Date of Accrual WASHINGTON Upon the commencement of employment, or January 1, 2018 if employed on or before that day. SEATTLE Upon the commencement of employment, or September 1, 2012 if employed on or before that day.
Stating Date of Use WASHINGTON 90th calendar day after the commencement of employment. SEATTLE 90th calendar day after the commencement of employment.
Rehiring WASHINGTON If rehired within 12 months of separation by the same employer, the employer must reinstate the employee’s accrued, unused paid sick leave. Upon rehire, an employer must provide notification to the employee of the amount of accrued, unused paid sick leave available. SEATTLE If rehired within 12 months of separation by the same employer, the previous period of employment shall be counted for purposes of determining the employee’s eligibility to use accrued PSST.
Paid Time Off (Combined Leave) WASHINGTON Employers with PTO provided by a written policy or a collective bargaining agreement are not required to provide additional paid sick and paid safe leave, provided that the PTO program meets or exceeds the following provisions:
1) Accrual of PTO leave at a rate of not less than 1 hour for every 40 hours worked;
2) Payment for PTO leave at the employee’s normal hourly compensation;
3) Carryover of at least 40 hours of accrued, unused PTO to the following year;
4) Access to use PTO for all the purposes authorized for the WA paid sick leave law; and
5) Employer notification and recordkeeping requirements.
SEATTLE Employers with a PTO policy are not required to provide additional PSST, provided that:
1) Available paid leave may be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions as PSST;
2) PTO leave is accrued at the rate consistent with PSST;
3) Use of PSST within any benefit year is limited to no less than the amounts specified respectively as stated in the following chart; and
4) Any accrued but unused PSST leave may be carried over to the following benefit year as stated in the following chart:

Employer Size Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
Usable Hours per Year/Carried Over Unused Time Employer Size 40H 56H 108H
Unused Accruals WASHINGTON Financial or other reimbursement not required. SEATTLE Financial or other reimbursement not required.
Frontloading WASHINGTON Employers may, but are not required to, frontload paid sick leave. SEATTLE Employers may, but are not required to, frontload PSST.
Foreseeability and Requiring Reasonable Notice to Employer WASHINGTON Employers may require employees to provide reasonable notice to take their leave as follows:
[Illness/Injury/Health Condition or Closure of Work Place or Child’s School/Place of Care]
1) If the leave is foreseeable, unless employers allow less advance notice, employees must provide notice at least 10 days, or as early as practicable, in advance.
2) If the leave is unforeseeable, employees must provide notice ASAP before the start of their shift, unless it is not practicable to do so. If impracticable, a person on the employee’s behalf may provide notice.
[DV, Sexual Assault, or Stalking]
1) If employers have a stated policy that requires advance notice for foreseeable leave, employees shall follow the policy. If no such policy exists, employees must give advance notice as soon as practicable.
2) If the leave is unforeseeable and employees are unable to give advance notice, the employee or his/her designee must give notice no later than the end of the first day that the employee takes such leave.
Employers must have a written policy or a collective bargaining agreement outlining any requirements of employees to give reasonable notice for the use of leave, and must make notification of such policy or agreement.
SEATTLE Employers may require employees to provide reasonable notice to take PSST leave as follows:
1) If the leave is foreseeable, unless employers allow less advance notice, employees must provide written notice at least 10 days, or as early as possible, in advance.
2) If the leave is unforeseeable, employees must provide notice as soon as is practicable and must generally comply with an employer’s reasonable normal notification policies and/or procedures.
Verification WASHINGTON For absences exceeding 3 days, employers may require verification that an employee’s use of leave is for an authorized purpose. Employers must not require that the information provided explain the nature of the condition.
If employers require verification due to illness/injury/health condition or closure of work place or child’s school/place of care, the time period of the submission may not be less than 10 calendar days following the first day upon which the employee uses the leave.
If employers require verification that the use of paid sick leave is for DV, sexual assault, or stalking, employees must provide verification in a timely manner from when employees receive the request for verification. If employees are unable to give advance notice because of an emergency or unforeseen circumstances, employees must provide verification within a reasonable time period during or after the leave.
Employers must have a written policy or a collective bargaining agreement outlining verification requirements in order to obtain such verification. Employers must notify employees of such policy or agreement, including the employees’ right to assert that the verification requirement results in an unreasonable burden or expense on employees.
SEATTLE For absences exceeding 3 days, employers may require verification that an employee’s use of leave is for an authorized purpose. Employers must not require that the information provided explain the nature of the condition.
An employer’s requirements for verification may not result in an unreasonable burden or expense on an employee.
Notice of Time Accrued, Used, and Left WASHINGTON Not less than monthly, employers must provide employees with written (e.g., pay stub) or electronic notification detailing (1) the accrued leave amount, (2) the leave reductions since the last notification, and (3) any unused leave. SEATTLE Each time wages are paid, employers must provide each employee with information in writing (e.g., pay stub, online system) detailing (1) the accrued leave amount, (2) the leave reductions since the last notification, and (3) any unused leave.
Confidentiality WASHINGTON If employers obtain any health information about employees or their family members, employers must treat such information in a confidential manner. SEATTLE Employer must maintain the confidentiality of information in support of employees’ request for leave except for the following:
1) Requested or consented to by the employee;
2) Ordered by a court or administrative agency; or
3) Required by applicable federal or state law.
Notification to Employees WASHINGTON Employers must notify each employee of the following:
1) Employee’s entitlement to paid sick leave;
2) Rate at which the leave is accrued;
3) Authorized purposes of the use of the leave; and
4) Prohibition of retaliation by employers for employees’ lawful use of the leave.
SEATTLE Employers must provide employees with written notice of the employer’s policy and procedure for meeting PSST requirements, including but not limited to:
1) Employee’s entitlement to PSST;
2) Employer’s choice of benefit year;
3) Tier size;
4) Rate of accrual, use and carry-over of PSST hours;
5) Manner of providing an updated amount of available PSST hours each time wages are paid;
6) Notification requirements for absences and requesting leave; and
7) Prohibition of retaliation by employers for employees’ lawful use of PSST.If applicable, an explanation of:
• Frontloading program;
• Verification requirements for use of PSST for more than three consecutive days;
• Shared PSST program (e.g. donation); and
• PTO program.
Other WASHINGTON [Requiring Replacement Prohibited]
An employer may not require, as a condition of taking the leave, that the employee find a replacement worker to cover the hours during the leave.
SEATTLE [Grace Period]
PSST does not apply to Tier 1 and Tier 2 employers until 24 months after the hire date of their first employee, but only from PSST requirements that are more generous than statewide paid sick leave.
Links WASHINGTON [WA Department of Labor and Industries]
Paid Sick Leave Digest:
http://www.lni.wa.gov/WorkplaceRights/LeaveBenefits/
VacaySick/PaidSickLeave.asp
Paid Sick Leave Sample Policies:
https://lni.us.engagementhq.com/
PaidSickLeaveSamplePolicies
SEATTLE [The City of Seattle]
PSST Digest (1):
http://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/ordinances/
paid-sick-and-safe-time
PSST Digest (2):
http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/
CivilRights/psst-summary.pdf
PSST Q&A (1):
https://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/ordinances/
paid-sick-and-safe-time/questions-and-answers
PSST Q&A (2):
http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/
LaborStandards/OLS-QA-PSST.pdf
PSST Checklist:
http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/
LaborStandards/PSST-Policy_Checklist-042216.pdf
PSST Policy Sample (MS Word document will be downloaded upon clicking):
https://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/
LaborStandards/PSST-Sample_Policy.docx

 

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