City of Seattle Leave Programs

The City of Seattle offers its employees competitive and comprehensive personal paid time off options and family/medical leave programs. 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. These programs 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 department Leave & ADA Coordinator.

The following are paid leave options 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 12 official 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
  • Juneteenth
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Indigenous Peoples' Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Day Following Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day 

Floating/Personal 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 are all current leave programs that the City of Seattle offers its employees who are experiencing a family and/or medical event. 

Family and Medical Leave (FML)

Family and 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 program complies with the Federal 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.

Leave of Absence
Under the City's Leave of Absence program eligible employees are offered a Medical Leave of Absence or a Personal Leave of Absence when there is a need for unpaid leave due to personal, medical, or family situations that may not be covered under any other City leave program. 

  • Medical Leave of Absence refers to unpaid leave offered to eligible employees who have been approved for Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave (SPFML) by the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) due to medical or family reasons and are otherwise ineligible for a City leave program. ​​​​​​​

  • Personal Leave of Absence refers to an unpaid leave that an employee's department appointing authority may grant to eligible employees for a minimum period of 15 calendar days but no longer than 12 months for personal reasons or for medical reasons not covered under a City, State, or Federal leave program.​​​​​​​

Transplant Donor Leave

Transplant Donor Leave provides eligible employees leave for a period of 5 workdays or 40 working hours (whichever is less) per 12-month rolling calendar year, to the extent the absence is medically necessary for purposes donating bone marrow, tissue, or an organ to another person. Transplant Donor Leave may 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.

Sick Leave Transfer Program (Donated Sick Leave)

Sick Leave Transfer allows employees to donate accrued and unused paid 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 reasonable amount of unpaid leave to employees who are and for employees whose family members are victims, of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Leave may be granted to allow the employee to seek legal or law enforcement assistance, to prepare or participate in legal proceedings, receive medical and/or mental health treatment related to the domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking, or obtain other necessary services.  Leave may also be granted to allow the employee to assist family members in obtaining these services.

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: The City provides up to 21 working days, exclusive of normal days off, of paid leave per fiscal year without loss of service credit for employees who are members of the US armed forces, National Guard, or reserves, and need leave in order to report for required military duty, training or drills. This leave provides employees with their City pay and benefits at the same payrate and under the same conditions as if they were at work. This leave complies with State law (RCW 34.40.060).  
  • Family and Medical Leave - The military provisions under Family Medical Leave provide eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid FML leave for any “qualifying exigency” arising from the foreign deployment of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent with the Armed Forces, or to care for a servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin.  

    • Military Exigency: Eligible employees are granted up to 90 days (13 weeks) of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for a “qualifying exigency” arising out of a foreign deployment of the employee’s  spouse, parent, son or daughter.
    • 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,  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.This leave complies with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) and state law (RCW 73.16).

  • Military Spouse Leave of Absence (Spouse LOA): Military Spouse Leave refers to a 15-day unpaid leave provided to employees whose spouse or registered domestic partner is a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard, or Reserves and who has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty and before deployment, or whose military spouse or registered domestic partner 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.

Bereavement Leave

Bereavement Leaveoffers eligible employees forty hours (40 hours) of paid leave for bereavement purposes in the event of a death of an employee’s close relative. Eligible employees who experience the death of a relative other than a close relative may be approved for up to forty hours (40 hours) of bereavement leave charged to their available sick leave balances. Bereavement Leave is pro-rated for part-time employees. 

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.  

Religious Holidays

Under RCW 1.16.050(3), City employees are entitled to two (2) unpaid religious holidays (also known as religious unpaid leave) per calendar year (January - December) for a reason of faith or conscience or an organized activity conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization. Employees may also request religious accommodations in addition to the 2 religious holidays.

Jury Duty/Testimony as Witness Leave

Jury Duty/Testimony as Witness Leave offers eligible employees who have been summoned to jury duty or who have subpoenaed to serve as a witness on behalf of the State or a political subdivision thereof in a criminal or civil proceeding with leave that is compensated at employees' regular hourly rate. 

Sabbatical Leave

Sabbatical Leave is a discretionary unpaid leave not to exceed 12 months for which an employee may apply after the completion of seven years of continuous full-time regular City service or the equivalent thereof. The purpose of Sabbatical Leave is to provide eligible employees the opportunity to take time off from work to enjoy a period of rest and rejuvenation, for personal reasons, or to pursue educational growth opportunities that will enhance their career and future contributions with the City.

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 see our Workers' Compensation page.

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.  

Title 1 of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) prohibit employers, including state and local government employers, from discriminating against a qualified individual with a disability. These laws protect the rights of both employees and job seekers to be free from discrimination.  

These laws also require an employer, such as the City of Seattle, to provide a "reasonable accommodation" to qualified applicants and employees with disabilities, unless the employer can show that the accommodation would be an undue hardship. The City of Seattle complies with its legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (which applies to federal contracts and subcontractors), the WLAD, and other applicable state and local disability related laws prohibiting employment discrimination. It is the policy of the City of Seattle to reasonably accommodate a qualified applicant or employee with a disability, unless doing so causes an undue hardship. 

Reasonable accommodation can be required in three aspects of employment:  

  1. To participate in the application process;
  2. To perform  essential job functions; and
  3. To enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities.​

An accommodation is a reasonable change to a job or work environment, or the way the job is performed that enables a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. No specific form of accommodation is guaranteed for all employees with a particular disability. Rather, a reasonable accommodation must be tailored to match the individual needs of the employee’. Common types of reasonable accommodations in the workplace may include modifications to how job functions are performed through the use of assistive devices or equipment, part-time or modified work schedules, job reassignment to a vacant position, or the use of paid or unpaid leave (please note this is not an exhaustive list). 

Requesting an accommodation under Title I of the ADA

If you are a current City employee and would like to request a reasonable accommodation or to understand more about the options available to you under Title I, please contact your respective department Leave & ADA Coordinator to initiate the interactive ADA process.  

If you are an applicant applying for a job with the City and would like to request a reasonable accommodation in connection with the application process, please contact the recruiter (name found at the bottom of job posting) or Leave & ADA Coordinator for the department of the position for which you are applying.  

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, for certain military-connected events, and for the seven days following the loss of a child . 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.

Notice of Employee Rights Washington State Paid Family and Medical Leave

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

Human Resources

Kimberly Loving, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 5500, Seattle, WA , 98124
Mailing Address: PO Box 34028, Seattle, WA, 98124-4028
Phone: (206) 684-7999
Fax: (206) 684-4157

The Human Resources Department provides human resource services, tools, and expert assistance to departments, policy makers, employees, and the public so that the City of Seattle's diverse work force is deployed, supported, and managed fairly to accomplish the City's business goals.