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SEATTLE OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

Seattle Office for Civil Rights Rules
Chapter 70

 

GENERAL PROVISIONS

SHRR 70-001           Purpose

These Rules (Chapter 70) govern the practices of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights in administering the provisions of the Paid Sick Time and Paid Safe Time Ordinance (Ordinance), Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 14.16.

SHRR 70-010           Definitions

  1. "Adverse action" means the discharge, suspension, discipline, transfer, demotion or denial of promotion by an employer of an employee for any reason prohibited by SMC 14.16.040.
  2. "Business" and "engaging in business" have the same meanings as in SMC 5.30.
  3. "Calendar year" means the period of a year beginning January 1 and ending December 31 and is not interchangeable with a fiscal year or rolling year that is different than this definition.
  4. "City" shall mean the City of Seattle.
  5. "Charging party" means the person aggrieved by an alleged violation of this chapter or the person making a charge on another person's behalf, or the Director when the Director files a charge.
  6. "Clear instance or pattern of abuse" includes one or more situations when an employee has used paid sick/safe time in a pattern without legitimate reason (e.g. repeated absences or absences that precede or follow regular days off) or has obtained, attempted to obtain or used paid sick/safe time improperly.
  7. "Client" means any employer that enters into a professional employer agreement with a professional employer organization.
  8. "Combined or universal leave policy" means a policy, such as a paid time off (PTO) policy, that is defined in writing or practice as providing employees with a single amount of paid leave and permitting employees to use available paid leave regardless of the reason.
  9. "Department" means the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.
  10. "Director" means the Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.
  11. "Eating and/or drinking establishment" means a place where food and/or beverages are prepared and sold at retail for immediate consumption either on- or off-premise, but excludes food and beverage service sites such as cafeterias, that are accessory to other activities and primarily serve students, patients and/or on-site employees.
  12. "Employ" means to engage, suffer or permit to work.
  13. "Employee" shall mean any individual employed by an employer, and shall include traditional employees, temporary workers, and part-time employees. Individuals performing services under a work study agreement are not covered by this chapter. Employees are covered by the Ordinance if they perform their work in Seattle. An employee who performs work in Seattle on an occasional basis is covered by the Ordinance only if he or she performs more than 240 hours of work in Seattle within a calendar year. An employee who is not covered by the Ordinance is still included in any determination of the size of the employer. In the event that a temporary employee is supplied by a staffing agency or similar entity, absent a contractual agreement stating otherwise, that individual shall be an employee of the staffing agency for all purposes of this chapter, except as provided in SMC 14.16.010(T)(4)(b)
  14. "Employer" shall mean, as defined in SMC 14.04.030(K), any person who has one or more employees, or the employer's designee or any person acting in the interest of such employer. Employer size shall be determined as provided in SMC 14.16.010(T). For purposes of the Ordinance, "employer" does not include any of the following:
    1. The United States government;
    2. The State of Washington, including any office, department, agency, authority, institution, association, society or other body of the state, including the legislature and the judiciary;
    3. Any county or local government other than the City.
  15. "Employment agency" or "staffing agency" means any person undertaking with or without compensation to procure opportunities to work or to procure, recruit, refer, or place individuals with an employer or in employment.
  16. "Enterprise" means the related activities performed (either through unified operation or common control) by any person or persons for a common business purpose, and includes all such activities whether performed in one or more establishments or by one or more corporate or other organizational units, including departments of an establishment operated through leasing arrangements but not including the related activities performed for such enterprise by an independent contractor.
  17. "Exempt employee" means an employee who is exempt from overtime payment under federal or state law.
  18. "Full-time" means an eight-hour day and a five-day week or as full-time is defined, in writing or practice, by the employer. There is no minimum number of hours for full-time; it is an employer-specific determination. An employer may define full-time differently for exempt and nonexempt employees.
  19. "Full-time equivalent" shall mean the number of hours worked for compensation that add up to one full-time employee, based either on an eight-hour day and a five-day week or as full-time is defined, in writing or in practice, by the employer.
  20. "Health care professional" shall mean any person authorized by the City, any state government and/or the federal government to diagnose and treat physical or mental health conditions, including a doctor, nurse, emergency medical care provider, and/or a public health clinic worker, so long as that person is performing within the scope of their practice as defined by the relevant law.
  21. "Hours worked" means time that an employee performs work for the employer and does not include paid or unpaid leave.
  22. "Integrated enterprise" means an enterprise in which the operations of two or more separate entities are considered so intertwined that they can be considered the single employer of the employee.
  23. "Joint employer" means a relationship in which two or more separate entities exercise some control over the work or working conditions of the employee.
  24. "Nonexempt employee" means an employee who is not exempt from overtime payment under federal or state law.
  25. "Normal work week" means an employee's regular schedule of work hours (e.g. 40 hours at full-time, etc.).
  26. "Ordinance" means the Paid Sick Time and Safe Time Ordinance, Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 14.16.
  27. "Paid sick time" and/or "paid sick days" shall mean accrued hours of paid leave provided by an employer for use by an employee for an absence from work for any of the reasons specified in SMC 14.16.030(A)(1), for which time an employee shall be compensated at the same hourly rate and with the same benefits, including health care benefits, as the employee would have earned during the time the paid leave is taken. Employees are not entitled to compensation for lost tips or commissions and compensation shall only be required for hours that an employee is scheduled to have worked.
    1. For purposes of determining eligibility for "paid sick time," "family member" shall mean, as defined in the Washington Family Care Act, RCW 49.12.265 and 49.12.903, as follows:
    2. "Child" means a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis who is: (a) under 18 years of age; or (b) 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.
    3. "Grandparent" means a parent of a parent of an employee.
    4. "Parent" means a biological or adoptive parent of an employee or an individual who stood in loco parentis to an employee when the employee was a child.
    5. "Parent-in-law" means a parent of the spouse of an employee.
    6. "Spouse" means husband, wife or domestic partner. For purposes of this chapter, the terms spouse, marriage, marital, husband, wife, and family shall be interpreted as applying equally to city or state registered domestic partnerships or individuals in city or state registered domestic partnerships as well as to marital relationships and married persons to the extent that such interpretation does not conflict with federal law. Where necessary to implement this chapter, gender-specific terms such as husband and wife used in any statute, rule, or other law shall be construed to be gender neutral, and applicable to individuals in city or state registered domestic partnerships
  28. "Paid safe time" and/or "paid safe days" shall mean accrued hours of paid leave provided by an employer for use by an employee for an absence from work for any of the reasons specified in SMC 14.16.030(A)(2), for which time an employee shall be compensated at the same hourly rate and with the same benefits, including health care benefits, as the employee would have earned during the time the paid leave is taken.
    1. For the purposes of determining eligibility for "paid safe time":
      1. "Family or household members" shall mean, as defined in RCW 49.76.020, spouses, domestic partners, former spouses, former domestic partners, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons 16 years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship, persons 16 years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship, and persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.
      2. "Domestic violence" shall mean:
        1. Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members;
        2. sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or
        3. stalking, as defined below in SMC 14.16.010(P)(1)(c), of one family or household member by another family or household member.
        4. "Stalking" shall be defined as in RCW 9A.46.110,
        5. "Dating relationship" shall mean, as defined in RCW 49.76.020, a social relationship of a romantic nature.
        6. "Sexual assault" shall be defined as in RCW 49.76.020.
  29. "Part-time" means the number of hours that constitute a part-time work schedule as defined in writing or practice by the employer.
  30.  "Party" includes the person charging or making a complaint or upon whose behalf a complaint is made alleging a violation of this chapter, the person alleged or found to have committed a violation of this chapter and the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.
  31. "Person" includes one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, organizations, trade or professional associations, corporations, public corporations, cooperatives, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy and receivers, firm, institution, or any group of persons; it includes any owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, agent or employee, whether one or more natural persons, and further includes any department, office, agency or instrumentality of the City.
  32. "Professional employer agreement" means a written contract by and between a client and a professional employer organization that provides for the joint employment of covered employees; and for the allocation of employer rights and obligations between the client and the professional employer organization with respect to the covered employees. See RCW 82.04.540(3)(e).
  33. "Professional employer organization" means any person engaged in the business of providing professional employer services as defined by RCW 82.04.540(3)(f).
  34. "Tier One," "Tier Two," and "Tier Three" employers are defined as follows:
    1. "Tier One employer" shall mean an employer that employs more than four and fewer than fifty full-time equivalents on average per calendar week.
    2. "Tier Two employer" shall mean an employer that employs at least fifty and fewer than 250 full-time equivalents on average per calendar week.
    3. "Tier Three employer" shall mean an employer that employs 250 or more full-time equivalents on average per calendar week.
    4. The determination of employer tier for the current calendar year will be calculated based upon the average number of full-time equivalents paid per calendar week during the preceding calendar year for any and all weeks during which at least one employee worked for compensation. To determine the number of full-time equivalents, all compensated hours of all employees shall be counted, including:
      1. work performed outside of the City; and
      2. compensated hours made available by part-time employment, temporary employment or through the services of a temporary services or staffing agency or similar entity.
    5. For employers that did not have any employees during the previous calendar year, the employer tier will be calculated based upon the average number of full-time equivalents paid for per calendar week during the first 90 calendar days of the current year in which the employer engaged in business.
  35. "Work Study" means a job placement program that provides students in secondary and/or post-secondary educational institutions with employment opportunities for financial aid and/or vocational training.

SHRR            70-020            Practice where rules do not govern

If a matter arises in administering the Ordinance that is not specifically governed by these rules, the Director shall, in the exercise of his or her discretion, specify the practices to be followed.

SHRR            70-030            Construction of rules

These rules shall be liberally construed to permit the Department to accomplish its administrative duties and to secure the just and efficient determination of the merits of all charges and complaints received by the Department.

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