Paid Parental & Family Leave for City Employees

Policy goal

Expand leave supplements available to City of Seattle employees to 12 weeks.

Read the Action Plan Read the FAQs Read the Report

How this policy will be achieved

    1. 2015: Added a 4 week supplement to parental leave
    2. 2017: Added another 4 week supplement to parental leave, with up to 4 additional weeks (12 total) of PPL benefit available to those with lower paid leave accumulations.
    3. 2017: Created a 4 week supplement to existing family care leave
      1. Platform development for wider usage of expansive existing employee paid leave (10 week average)

How this policy will be administered

    1. All employees experiencing a qualifying parental event will be able to take 12 weeks of paid leave, triggered by the event. Additional weeks can be added using accrued leave.
    2. All employees experiencing a qualifying family care event will receive 4 weeks of paid family care leave, to be available when accumulated leave is at or below 2 weeks of sick leave and 1 week of vacation leave. These 2 weeks of sick leave and 1 week of vacation will be held aside for the employee accessing the family care supplement unless they choose to use them to add on to their family care leave.

How will this policy affect employees?

Paid Parental & Family Leave for City of Seattle Employees - Explanation of Proposed Benefits

  1. 100% of employees welcoming a new child will have at least 12 weeks of paid leave available for parental leave.
    1. The average new parent employee is projected to have 18 weeks of paid leave available.
  2. 99% of City employees are projected to have their need for paid leave to care for family fully met.
    1. All employees will have guaranteed access to 4 weeks of paid leave per year to care for seriously ill family members.
    2. The average employee will have 14 weeks of paid time off available to care for an ill family member.

How were these decisions made?

  1. Parental Leave objective: achieve 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents.
    1. Prior to the implementation of 2015’s paid parental leave benefit, the average female new parent was able to take 10 weeks of paid leave to welcome a new child. When factoring in men, that average taken was 8 weeks.
    2. With the 2015 supplement of 4 weeks, plus the 2017 supplement of up to 8 weeks, 100% of new parents will have access to 12 weeks of paid leave.
    3. Under the new policy, the average new parent could take 18 weeks of paid leave.
  2. Family Care objective: satisfy the anticipated need of our workforce to care for sick loved ones.
    1. The average employee has accrued 10 weeks of paid leave (counting only sick and vacation leave). This leave is extremely flexible: accruals can be rolled over every year and it can be used for any illness or emergency for oneself, spouse/domestic partner, child, parent, grandparent, or sibling of the employee or of the spouse/domestic partner.
    2. Federal data indicates that roughly 8%* of our workforce may be expected to take leave each year to care for a seriously ill family member, or +/- 900 employees.
    3. Of those 900 employees, the majority (68.5% or 617 total), will need at most 2 weeks of leave.
    4. For the average employee (who has 10 weeks of accrued leave), we will ask them to use 7 weeks of their accrued leave (saving 2 weeks of sick leave and 1 week of vacation) before triggering the benefit. The 4 week supplement fulfills the need of the vast majority of employees likely to need this type of leave. However, some employees will have more need than this benefit supplies.
    5. For example, of the 900 employees, 2.4% (21) are projected to need 24 or more weeks of leave, a level of need which we are unlikely to satisfy. However, if the average employee chose to use all their accumulated leave and the benefit, we would be able to satisfy about 14 weeks of the leave at full pay.
    6. Under the proposed policy, we will meet the needs of 92% of those employees needing family care leave in a year. In other terms, over 99% of the workforce’s potential needs would be met.

*Specific and robust data does not exist for family care leave of our workforce, so Federal Department of Labor statistics have been used, adjusted for the demographics of the City’s workforce. Thus, all of these numbers are approximations.

** “Employees” above refers to benefited employees only. Benefits are pro-rated for part-time employees.