Seattle, WA: Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Rules Revised Again

APPLIES TO

All Employers with Seattle, WA Employees

EFFECTIVE

July 1, 2018

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

Seattle’s local paid sick leave ordinance has undergone yet another round of changes.  When Washington passed a statewide paid sick and safe time (“PSST”) requirement last year, Seattle’s ordinance was amended to more closely align with state provisions.  Now, an additional revision to the Administrative Rules governing PSST incorporates a few more important changes and deletions, with a new effective date of July 1, 2018.  The below table contains select key revised or expunged rules:

Provision Previous Updated
Joint Employer Standard When employees are sourced through a staffing agency, the staffing agency generally must meet PSST requirements, unless an agreement stating otherwise is in place. Joint employers are responsible for compliance with the amended ordinance.
Calculating Pay Rate Set forth normal hourly rate calculation in tandem with state regulations. Revises part of a previous OLS proposal to include holiday pay, tips, and premium rates when calculating normal hourly compensation.  Eliminates lost commissions from normal hourly compensation rate for exempt employees.
Occasional Employees Employees typically based outside Seattle, who perform occasional work in Seattle totaling more than 240 hours in a calendar year, are covered under the ordinance. Defines “typically based outside” Seattle to mean an employee who must work outside the city for more than 50% of work hours in a year.  Additionally, employees are covered for every hour worked in Seattle if they are regularly scheduled to work in Seattle, even if scheduled infrequently or on a limited basis.
Accrual for Out-of-City Work Work performed outside of Seattle is not covered under the law for accrual and usage purposes. Eliminated from revised rules.
Incremental Usage PSST must typically be taken either in one-hour increments or the smallest increment the employer’s normal timekeeping permits, whichever is smaller.  Variance from this standard may be granted by the Department of Labor and Industries (“DOLI”). The revised rules do not permit a variance issued by the DOLI for work performed in Seattle.
Leave Usage for Voluntary Scheduling Employers may, but are not required to, permit PSST use during on-call or overtime hours employees elected to add to their schedule. Employers are required to pay, and permit PSST use, for an hour that the employee is “scheduled to have worked.”
Verification of Documentation Employers are prohibited from requiring documentation or verification of PSST use that unduly burdens, causes unreasonable expense, or exceeds privacy/verification requirements set by law.

 

Employers may also seek documentation or verification for PSST of fewer than four consecutive days for clear instances or patterns of abuse.

A new framework is provided for employees to challenge employer’s request for verification or documentation of PSST use.  Employers must split the cost of specific out-of-pocket medical expenses if the employee is not provided health insurance through the employer.

 

Rule regarding employer’s ability to seek documentation in instances or patterns of abuse has been eliminated.

Posting Requirement Employers must display a notice provided by the Office of Labor Standards (“OLS”). The notice must meet the OLS’s specific requirements on size dimensions.  The posting must be displayed, or provided individually if display is not possible, no later than when employment begins or within 30 days of an employee becoming covered during employment.
Leave Advancement Employers may advance or “loan” leave time to employees prior to accrual. Employers are required to provide written or electronic notice that the advanced amount at least equaled what the ordinance requires an employee to accrue by the end of the time period the advance was intended to cover.
Disciplinary Measures Anti-retaliation protections do not prevent the employer from disciplining an employee where there is a clear instance or pattern of abuse. Eliminated from revised rules.

The above amendments are primarily intended to incorporate state requirements.  However, employers should still carefully review the revised rules and the potential impact on their operations.

Action Items

  1. Review the text of the Administrative Rules here.
  2. Have PSST policies updated to reflect amended rules.
  3. Review payroll procedures to ensure PSST rates are appropriately calculated.
  4. Review OLS poster requirements for compliance.
  5. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

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