Seattle's Paid Sick Leave and Safe Time Ordinance Turns Five

by Seattle Office of Labor Standards
| Sep 01, 2017

Over Labor Day weekend, the City of Seattle commemorated and reflected upon the contributions of labor and workers across this country, from the past to the present day. "It is also an opportunity to for us celebrate Seattle’s leadership on wage, labor and workforce practices that promote equity, health, and prosperity for workers." 

The weekend marked the 5-year anniversary of Seattle’s first labor standard, Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST). As of September 1st, 2012, tens of thousands of Seattleites working in local businesses began earning paid leave under PSST. Five years later, the ordinance has played a pivotal role in the lives of employees and their families.

PSST requires employers to provide paid sick and safe time for employees. It can be used for an employee's absence from work due to illness, medical appointments, or critical safety issue, including domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

The ordinance applies to all employers with more than four full-time equivalent employees. All employees are eligible for the new benefit, including full time, part-time and temporary workers.
Employees can use their accrued PSST as paid time off:

• To deal with their own illness, injury or health condition.
• To take care of a family member who has an illness, injury or medical appointment.
• When their place of business has been closed by order of a public official for health reasons.
• For reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
For more information, you can visit our PSST webpage or call 206-256-5297.

Reminder: Office of Labor Standards invites public comments on revisions to rules allowing subminimum wages for people with disabilities

The Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) is proposing a revision to an administrative rule for the Minimum Wage Ordinance (SHRR Chapter 90). The revision will prevent employers from paying any worker with a disability less than Seattle’s minimum wage, a practice that is currently allowed under an ordinance provision that mirrors state law.

The Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities voted unanimously at its June meeting to end exemptions that permit employers to pay subminimum wages for workers with a disability, and the Mayor, City Council, and OLS supported this change.
Members of the public have until September 6, 2017 at 5:00pm PST to comment on the proposed rule. The full text of the rule is available at:

Please send comments by email to or by regular mail to:
        Seattle Office of Labor Standards
        810 Third Ave., Suite 375
        Seattle, WA  98104-1627
        Attn:  Karina Bull, OLS Policy Manager

You can also comment by calling 206-256-5297.


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