Paid Sick and Safe Time

Ordinance: SMC 14.16  Rules: SHRR Chapter 70

Paid Sick and Safe Time Emergency Rule

Paid Sick and Safe Time Comprehensive Q & A 

Paid Sick and Safe Time COVID-19 Q & A 

Paid Sick and Safe Time and New Federal COVID-19 Paid Leave Comparison

Paid Sick & Safe Time Fact Sheet

Paid Sick & Safe Time Flier

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Resources

On April 8, 2020, OLS issued a temporary, emergency rule that clarifies that employers may not require a doctor's note or healthcare provider verification because it is an unreasonable burden during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.  Employers must identify and provide alternatives for the employee to meet the employer's verification requirement. Those alternatives may not result in an unreasonable burden or expense on the employee. To read the full emergency rule, please download it here. We encourage employers to be as flexible as possible with verification requests during this time. For examples of possible alternate documentation, please view our comprehensive Q&A here.

Alternate documentation could include: the employee's own statement, or documentation from other individuals like service providers, social workers, case managers, or legal advocates, stating that, to their knowledge, the employee's use of paid sick leave is for a covered purpose.

Employees are not prevented from voluntarily using healthcare provider verification, including a doctor's note obtained through telemedicine, if it is available to them.

This emergency rule is temporary and is effective through June 7, 2020 (60 days). After that date, the rules will automatically revert to the version in effect prior to the emergency rule, unless the emergency rule is revoked sooner or extended beyond 60 days through formal rulemaking.

Update: On March 16, 2020, City Council amended this law to expand the uses of PSST. These changes became effective on March 18.

Seattle's Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance went into effect on September 1, 2012.

In March 2020, Seattle amended this law to expand the types of absences for which an employee can use PSST. These amendments are effective as of March 18, 2020. These changes are explained below. 

In January 2018, Seattle amended this law to reflect the more employee-protective provisions of voter-passed, Washington Initiative 1433, which established statewide paid sick leave for hourly employees working in Washington state. On July 1, 2018, PSST rule revisions became effective to reflect the amendments.

This law requires employers to provide employees who work in Seattle with paid leave:

  •   To care for themselves or a family member for a physical or mental health condition, including a doctor appointment
  •   To care for themselves, a family member, or a household member for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
  •   New!  When their family member's school or place of care has been closed
  •   When their place of business has been closed by order of a public official for health reasons
  •   New!  For employers of businesses with 250+ FTEs, when their place of business has been closed for any health or safety reason.

2020 Amendments: Prior to the March 2020 amendments, employees could use PSST when their child's place of care or school was closed due to the order of a public health official for a health-related reason. Now an employee may use PSST if any family member's place of care or school is closed. Also, the law no longer requires that the closure be for a health-related reason or that a public official order the closure. These amendments also now require an employer with 250 or more full-time equivalent employees to allow their employees to take PSST when their place of business has been closed for any health or safety reason.

PSST Rates (Accrual/Carry Over) by employer size:

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

(FTEs) Worldwide
1 employee
and up to 
49 FTEs
250 or
more FTEs
Accrual of
PSST per
Hours Worked
1 hour per
40 hours
1 hour per
40 hours
1 hour per
30 hours
of Unused
PSST per Year
40 hours 56 hours 72 hours
*108 hours
for employers
with PTO