Seattle City Council approves paid sick leave legislation

Home » Seattle City Council approves paid sick leave legislation

Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen


Seattle City Council approves paid sick leave legislation

The Seattle City Council today approved Council Bill 117216
with a vote of 8-1 (Council President Conlin voting no), requiring businesses in Seattle to provide paid leave to employees when they or their family members fall ill or victim to domestic violence.

The adopted legislation establishes minimum standards for paid sick and safe time based on company size. Workers in companies with 5 to 249 employees will accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick and safe time for every 40 hours worked. Workers in companies with 250 or more employees will accrue a minimum of one hour for every 30 hours worked.

“Today Seattle has shown itself as a leader. As a City, we recognize that a productive workforce is a healthy one and that a great city is one that cares for the welfare of all who work within its jurisdiction,” said bill sponsor Councilmember Nick Licata, Chair of the Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee. “Our Paid Sick Leave legislation accomplishes that objective.”

Employers may satisfy the requirements of the ordinance with a combined leave program that pools vacation and sick leave together. The new regulations will take effect on September 1, 2012, giving businesses a full year to adjust their personnel policies.

“This legislation required much negotiation and has resulted in a fair compromise with rules that are simple and straightforward, for both businesses and workers,” stated Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.

The legislation protects start-up companies and micro-businesses through exemptions for companies in their first two years of operation and companies with four or fewer employees.

The bill also requires an independent and objective analysis of the impacts of the policy to be presented to the Council eighteen months after the ordinance takes effect.

“To me, this is no longer a ‘sick leave’ bill, it has become a ‘wellness’ bill.  I support this wellness bill and feel positive about how it has evolved,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. “We have more work to do, and I want to be part of that process which is why I am voted yes.” 

Councilmember statements on the impact of this legislation to the City, click here.

For more information on the history of the paid sick leave legislation in Seattle, visit the Council’s information page.

[Go to Council Newsroom]