City of Seattle Leave Options

The City of Seattle offers its employees competitive and comprehensive personal and family/medical leave options. Eligibility and access to the City's leaves may vary by job status (e.g. full-time or part-time, regular or temporary, and represented or non-represented) and length of service. The City's leave options provide employees with a sustainable work-life balance ensuring that employees are not only advancing in their careers within the City but continue enjoying time off with their families.

Questions regarding the City's Leave options, please contact the respective departmental Leave & ADA Coordinator.

The following leaves are paid leaves that City employees earn through merit, position, or length of service.

Eligible City employees accrue vacation based on hours on regular pay status. The amount of vacation earned depends on the employee's length of service-from 12 days per year for a new employee to 30 days per year after 29 years of employment. Vacation accrual is pro-rated for part-time employees.

Sick and Safe Leave
Sick leave is a paid leave benefit provided to employees so that they may have paid time off to take care of personal injury, illness, or medical appointments; the illness, injury, or medical appointment of a family member; non-medical care of a newborn or care of a child recently placed for adoption, foster care, or legal guardianship; closure of an employee's worksite or a child's school/place of care for public health reasons; and eligible reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Full time employees earn 96 hours of sick leave per year. 

Holiday Pay
The City observes 10 official holidays and 2 personal holidays. An official holiday that falls on a Saturday will be observed on the preceding Friday. An official holiday that falls on a Sunday will be observed on the Monday immediately following.

  • New Year's Day
  • Martin Luther King's Birthday
  • Presidents' Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Day Following Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day 

Floating Holidays
Floating or Personal Holiday refers to paid time off from work for full-time employees on days chosen by the employee.  Part-time hourly employees receive pro-rated paid time off based on their work schedule.  Eligible employees earn between two to four Floating/Personal Holidays a year depending upon the employee's years of service.   

As an employer, the City of Seattle understands that some events require more time off than can be covered with an employee's earned vacation or sick leave. At some point during our employee's life and employment with the City, they may need to give or receive care due to their own condition, the care for a family member, to support an aging parent, to care for a new child (bonding), or to grieve the loss of a family member.  The following leaves are all leaves that City of Seattle offers its employees who are experiencing a family and/or medical event.

Family and Medical Leave (FML)
Family Medical Leave (or "FML") refers to an unpaid City leave available to employees for the care of an employee's own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a qualifying family member, including the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. Employees may take up to 520 hours (90 calendar days) of unpaid leave (pro-rated for part-time employees) per rolling 12-month period. Employees can elect to utilize their accrued paid leave such as vacation, sick leave, floating holiday, etc. during an approved FML leave period. FML leave is a protected leave, allowing for job restoration, continued health insurance benefits and protection against retaliation.  This leave complies with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Paid Family Care Leave (PFCL)
Paid Family Care Leave provides eligible employees up to four weeks (160 hours) of paid leave to care for an eligible family member with a serious health condition under an approved Family Medical Leave. This leave entitlement is pro-rated for part-time employees.

Paid Parental Leave (PPL)
The Paid Parental Leave program provides eligible employees up to twelve weeks (480 hours) paid leave to bond with their new child. This leave entitlement is pro-rated for part-time employees. Employees must use the leave before the first anniversary of the child's birth or placement.

Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)
Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) is an unpaid leave available for a period of sickness or temporary disability related to pregnancy or childbirth following the exhaustion of the employee's accumulated sick leave.  Pregnancy disability leave must be granted in addition to the employee's entitlement to Family and Medical Leave if the employee so chooses.

Lactation Breaks/Breastfeeding
Lactation breaks are reasonable paid break times that employees who are nursing may take to express breast milk in addition to their legally required paid and unpaid breaks.  

Leave of Absence
A Leave of Absence is an unpaid leave for a period not to exceed 12 months that is available to employees who need time off due to personal (non-medical) reasons or due to family or medical reasons that are not eligible for City Leaves, such as Family Medical Leave.

Transplant Donor Leave
Transplant Donor Leave provides eligible employees leave for a period of 40 working hours per 12-month rolling calendar year, who need time off for purposes donating bone marrow, tissue, or an organ to another person. Transplant Donor Leave must be granted in addition to the employee's entitlement to Family Medical Leave if the employee so chooses. Employees can elect to utilize their accrued paid leave such as vacation, sick leave, floating holiday, etc. during an approved Transplant Donor leave period.

ADA - Title I of American with Disabilities Act
On July 26, 1990 the American with Disabilities Act was signed into law and models the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The ADA prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else for employment as well as other life opportunities and services.  

As an employer, the City of Seattle, must provide "reasonable accommodation" to qualified City employees with disabilities. An accommodation is a reasonable change to a work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables a City employee with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.  

When a City employee can no longer perform some or all the essential functions of their job due to an ADA or disability related condition, employing departments with the help of the Seattle Department of Human Resources (SDHR), work with the employee through an interactive accommodation process.  

Workers Compensation
As a City of Seattle employee, if you are injured at your job working for the City of Seattle or you sustain an occupational disease or illness, which involves medical treatment you may be eligible for a workers' compensation benefit.   For additional information please follow this link to our Workers Compensation page.

Sick Leave Transfer Program (Donated Sick Leave)
Sick Leave Transfer allows employees to donate obtained sick leave to coworkers who have exhausted their sick leave and need additional leave for the care of their own medical condition. All employees who are included in the City's sick leave plan and meet the eligibility requirements are able to participate in the Sick Leave Transfer Program, either as a recipient or a donor. This program is not available for the care of a family member or for the care of a new child (bonding).

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Leave
Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Leave provides an unpaid leave to employees who are victims, or for employees whose family members are victims, of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Employees can take a reasonable amount of time off from work to participate in legal proceedings or obtain other necessary services. Employees can elect to utilize their accrued paid leave such as vacation, sick leave, floating holiday, etc. during an approved leave period due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. 

Military Leave
The City of Seattle offers the following paid and unpaid leave options for employees needing to time off work due to military events.

  • Paid Military Leave: City employees are granted up to 21 working days, exclusive of normal days off, of paid leave per fiscal year without loss of service credit If you are a member of the US armed forces, National Guard, or reserves. This leave provides employees with their City pay and benefits at the same pay rate and under the same conditions as if they were at work. This leave complies with State law (RCW 34.40.060).  
  • Family Medical Leave 
    • Military Exigency:  Employees are granted up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for a qualifying exigency of their  spouse, parent, son or daughter, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling is a military servicemember and who is deployed or has been notified of an impending deployment to a foreign country or in support of a contingency operation.
    • Military Caregiver Leave:  Employees are granted up to 26 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period to care for their spouse, parent, son or daughter, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or next of kin of a covered military servicemember with a serious injury or illness. Covered military members may be either a current servicemember or a veteran of the armed forces.
  • Military Leave of Absence (LOA):  Active Duty Unpaid Military Leave provides employees an unpaid leave of absence to enter active duty for the United States Military. It also guarantees a return to their position upon release from active duty, provided they meet the set criteria.
  • Military Spouse Leave of Absence (Spouse LOA): Military Spouse Leave refers to unpaid leave provided to employees whose spouse is a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard, or Reserves and has an impending call or order to active duty or deployment, or whose military spouse is on leave from deployment. This leave complies with the Washington State Military Family Leave Act (MFLA).

Bea's Law Paid Family Care Leave
Bea's Law Paid Family Care Leave benefit (PFCL) allows an employee paid leave to grieve the death of a child, or the death of a spouse or domestic partner who dies due to childbirth or childbirth complications.

Funeral Leave
Funeral Leave refers to a paid leave where employees who work at least 20 hours per week are entitled to paid time off due to a death of a "close relative" or "relative other than a close relative."  Funeral Leave is for the bereavement, funeral, or memorial service of a relative and the associated travel.  

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides assistance to City employees dealing with personal issues such as alcohol, drug, gambling, or other addictive behaviors; stress or depression; family, relationship, or emotional concerns; elder care; grief; and financial or legal problems so employees can be less distracted at work and reduce the amount of time away from their job to manage these situations. Employees are allowed 6 hours of paid time off during any calendar year (not charged to sick or vacation leave) to attend EAP counseling or training sessions.  

In addition to the City leave benefits package, Washington State offers City employees the Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave program.  The program is funded by premiums paid by both employees and many employers and is administered by the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD). This insurance program will allow workers to take up to 12 weeks, as needed, when they welcome a new child into their family, are struck by a serious illness or injury, need to take care of an ill or ailing relative and for certain military-connected events. If workers experience multiple events in a given year, they may be eligible to receive up to 16 weeks, or up to 18 weeks if the employee experiences a serious health condition with a pregnancy that results in incapacity.

To access the State leave program, employees should contact the Washington State Employment Security Department directly. Below is their contact information and link to their online application.

  • Washington State Employment Security Department's (ESD) Paid Family and Medical Leave Customer Center phone number: 1 (833) 717-2273