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Seattle Office for Civil Rights Rules
Chapter 70



SHRR 70-320           Reasonable notice policy and procedures

  1. An employer may require an employee to provide reasonable notice of an absence for paid sick/safe time if the notice requirements do not interfere with the purpose of the leave.
  2. Reasonable notice may include compliance with an employer's usual and customary notice and procedural requirements, normal notice requirements, reasonable normal notification policies and/or call-in procedures for absences and/or requesting leave, provided that such requirements do not interfere with the purposes of the leave.
  3. If an employer does not have an existing policy and procedure for providing reasonable notice, the employer should establish such policy and/or procedure, preferably in writing. The policy and procedure should enable the employee to effectively provide reasonable notice in a way that can be documented.

SHRR 70-330           Reference to ordinance

An employee may provide reasonable notice of an absence for paid sick/safe time without explicitly referencing the Ordinance or using the terms "paid sick time" or "paid safe time." An employer may inquire further to determine whether the absence qualifies for paid sick/safe time, provided that the inquiry does not violate the privacy and confidentiality provisions of the Ordinance or federal, state or local medical privacy laws.

SHRR 70-340           Notice for foreseeable leave

  1. In general. If the reason for paid sick/safe time is for a pre-scheduled or foreseeable absence, the employee shall provide a written request at least 10 days, or as early as possible, in advance of the paid leave, unless the employer's normal notice policy requires less advance notice. See SMC 14.16.030(B)(1).
  2. Written request. An employer may require that the written request state the reasons for leave as paid sick time or safe time, the anticipated duration of the leave and the anticipated start of the leave as well as designate a specific individual for point of contact. An employer may not require that the notice explain the nature of the illness or other reason for the absence. 

SHRR 70-350           Notice for unforeseeable leave

  1. In general. If the reason for paid sick/safe time is unforeseeable, the employee shall provide notice as soon as is practicable. In all cases, whether an employee can practicably provide notice depends upon the individual facts and circumstances of the situation. See SMC 14.16.030(B)(2).
  2. Paid sick and safe time. Except as modified in section three of this rule, an employee shall generally comply with an employer's reasonable notice policy and/or call-in procedures for unforeseeable leave, recognizing that there are certain situations such as accidents or sudden illnesses for which such requirements might be unreasonable. If an employee is unable to provide notice personally, notice may be provided by the employee's spokesperson (e.g. spouse, domestic partner, adult family member or other responsible party).
  3. Domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. An employee shall provide oral or written notice to the employer no later than the end of the first day that the employee has used paid safe time for a reason related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

SHRR 70-360           Notice for combined or universal leave

When an employer offers a combined or universal leave policy, such as a paid time off (PTO) policy, the employer may require the employee to provide notice that the paid leave is being used for foreseeable or unforeseeable paid sick/safe time. See SMC 14.16.030(B)(1)-(2).

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