Seattle Office of Labor Standards Marks Ten Years of Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance with More Than $2.5 Million Dollars in Assessed Remedies to Seattle
Seattle, WA – (October 5, 2022) – The Office of Labor Standards (OLS) announces the tenth anniversary of Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance. Since September 1, 2012, through the early work of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights and now the Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS), the City has resolved 351 PSST cases affecting an estimated 6,124 workers and resulting in remedy assessments totaling $2,551,220.73 with $2,257,584.21 recovered for workers and $293,636.52 to the City.
The City of Seattle has also helped employers achieve compliance by answering more than 5,501 technical assistance questions.
“PSST was the first ordinance passed by the City of Seattle marking an important milestone in efforts to increase economic security and advance racial equity for Seattle’s workers and their families. PSST provides a foundation for workers to receive basic workplace rights that are unfortunately still being violated to this day. As we have learned during the pandemic, workers need access to PSST to address the myriad crises that can impact their households and loved ones. Our team will continue to work diligently to ensure these workers’ rights are protected and to assist businesses with compliance,” said Steven Marchese, OLS Director.
Seattle's PSST ordinance 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,
To attend medical appointments,
For a critical safety issue related to domestic violence or sexual assault,
When a family member’s school or place of care is closed,
When their workplace is closed by public health official for health reasons, and
For employers with businesses of 250 or more full-time equivalent employees have closed for any health or safety reason
Since 2015 the OLS Community Outreach and Education Fund (COEF) partners have helped thousands of Seattle workers in their communities learn about and access this important law.
“Our strong paid sick and safe time protections in Seattle ensure that workers don’t have to choose between their income and their health when they need time off - a fundamental right that’s been especially crucial to safeguarding public health during the pandemic,” said Danielle Alvarado, Executive Director of Fair Work Center. “Going forward, we must prioritize universal access to this critical workplace right, including for domestic workers and gig workers who remain excluded from permanent protections under the law.”
As we navigated the Covid-19 civil emergency, PSST continued to be critical support for our city’s workers and for protecting public health. The City of Seattle increased access to paid sick leave and support the health and safety of Seattle workers. Two amendments to the PSST ordinance were made to expand the number of instances where employees can use paid sick and safe time hours to meet the emerging needs caused by COVID-19.
A PSST webinar with the latest updates is available to view or download here. OLS has partnered with the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and the Department of Neighborhoods to provide outreach on these amendments in 11 different languages that are available on our website and on YouTube.
To learn more about the PSST Ordinance, please visit the Paid Sick and Safe Time webpage. Businesses with questions about PSST or any of Seattle’s labor standards can call 206-256-5297 or send us a message through our web form.