August 2012 Newsletter Subscribe to this newsletter
In this issue:
Seattle employees to receive new Paid Sick and Safe Time benefit
All of us get sick occasionally, and many of us have even gone to work sick. Sometimes we have had to make the choice between our physical health and our economic health because of a lack of paid sick time.
Beginning September 1, 2012, that will change. If you work in Seattle you will be able to accrue paid hours to use when you or a family member falls ill, or to take time off from work due to a critical safety issue.
The City of Seattle's Paid Sick/Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance ensures that employees can care for their health or personal safety without losing pay. It protects everyone in the community by limiting the spread of illness. And it promotes equity by developing more equal access to paid sick and safe time, since women and people of color are less
likely to work in jobs that provide these benefits.
How will the ordinance work?
The ordinance applies to all employers with more than four full-time equivalent employees. All employees are eligible, including full time, part- time and temporary workers. The hourly accrual rate depends on your employer's size. Employees also will be able to carry over a limited amount of unused sick and safe time to the next calendar year.
Employees will be able to use accrued PSST as paid time off:
- To deal with your own illness, injury or health condition.
- To take care of a family member (including domestic partners)
- with an illness, injury or medical appointment.
- When your 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.
- What kind of help is available for implementation?
The Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) is responsible for enforcing this new law. We are working closely with employers to help them implement the new requirements. We also offer free presentations and technical assistance, as well as brochures, posters and other materials.
For more information about paid sick and safe time, visit
email email@example.com or call 206-684-4500.
Immigrant leaders help educate on fair housing rights
The Seattle Office for Civil Rights is proud to be a part of a partnership grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to conduct outreach on fair housing rights with Seattle's immigrant and refugee communities. Our office is working with the Department of Neighborhood's Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons to conduct train-the-trainer sessions in eight different communities, followed-up by additional outreach.
The first session was held on Saturday, July 21st with the Oromo community. Over 30 people were in
attendance from across all age groups. Mr. Habtamu M. Abdi, Program Coordinator for the Center for
East African Community Affairs, spoke passionately about fair housing and provided information in
Oromo. English responses to participants' questions were interpreted back into Oromo. The session
was video recorded and community leaders plan to use it at other community events. Community
leaders received certificates of completion after the training as fair housing advocates for their community.
Mr. Habtamu Abdi from the Center for East African Community Affairs provides a
presentation on civil rights for the Oromo community. (Photo credit: Mr. Yohannes Beshi)
We will continue to work with the Oromo community in Seattle on fair housing and civil rights. If
you would like to learn more about this project, please contact Jacque Larrainzar at (206) 684-4533
or by email at
Human Rights Day: Thursday, December 13 Honoring Heroes
Respecting Rights - Demanding Dignity
Every day in Seattle, heroes stand up for human rights and dignity. The
Office for Civil Rights and the Seattle Human Rights Commission are planning the 2012 Seattle Human
Rights Day celebration on Thursday, December 13th to illuminate the work of a few such heroes and
to focus attention on our commitment to human rights.
Seattle Human Rights Day commemorates the formal adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights by the U.N. General Assembly on December 10, 1948. This declaration marks the first global
enunciation of human rights. It serves as the foundation of international human rights law, the
first universal statement on the basic principles of inalienable human rights and a common standard
of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
Seattle Human Rights Day is a time to celebrate and learn about human rights. "It has long been
recognized that an essential element in protecting human rights was a widespread knowledge among
the population of what their rights are and how they can be defended," said Boutros Boutros- Ghali,
UN Secretary-General from 1992-1996.
Human Rights Day also offers the opportunity to honor Seattle area organizations and individuals
who have advanced human rights on the local, national or international stage. Later this fall,
community members will be invited to submit nominations to receive the 2012 Seattle Human Rights
Seattle Human Rights Day on Thursday, December 13th is free and open to the public, with light
refreshments and ASL interpretation provided. The event will be held in the Bertha Knight Landes
Room in City Hall. Event organizers are actively seeking co-sponsors and volunteers. For more
information, please contact Felicia Yearwood 206-684-4537 or
City welcomes Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has selected Magdaleno Rose-Avila as the
director of the new Office for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, created
by Seattle City Council in late 2011. Rose-Avila has served as executive director of the Northwest
Immigrant Rights Project and Social Justice Fund NW, as well as regional director of Amnesty
"I welcome this most important opportunity and responsibility for this
office," said Rose-Avila. "I look forward to working with the immigrant and
refugee communities and all those who believe that they can build a vision of hope for all people
in our city. Seattle has the opportunity to lead by example, dream the impossible, and work to make
it a reality."
Among its many responsibilities, the Office for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs will staff the City's
Immigrant and Refugee Commission, which advises the Mayor, City Council and city departments on
ways to enhance and improve access to city services and resources for immigrants and refugees. The
Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) had previously provided staff support to the Commission.
"I'm really excited to work closely with Leno and his staff to support our mutual goal of ending
racial inequity in our city and creating opportunities for all," said Julie Nelson, SOCR's
director. "We are looking forward to strong collaboration as we serve the needs of our Seattle's
For more information on the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs visit:
Car booting program underway
The City of Seattle has created a webpage with information on theScofflaw Ordinance. As part of the law, the boot, a wheel-locking device, locks the vehicles of
Seattle drivers who have four or more overdue, unpaid parking tickets. A boot may be placed on your
vehicle even if it is currently legally parked.
The Scofflaw webpage is a good resource to learn if you have any tickets, how to pay for them and
what to do if you get the boot. The program went into effect on July 5th 2011. Information on the
website is translated into five languages, including Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese and Chinese and
Amharic. To learn more visit http://www.seattle.gov/scofflaw/.