On March 16, 2020, the Seattle City Council amended Seattle's Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) law to expand the uses of PSST in light of the region's COVID-19 crisis. These changes became effective on March 18, 2020.

The PSST law now requires employers to provide employees who work in Seattle with paid leave:

  • When an employee’s family member's school or place of care has been closed; and
  • For employers of businesses with 250 or more fulltime employees, when the employee's place of business has been closed for any health or safety reason.

Family member is defined as a child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling.

These new PSST uses are in addition to these existing PSST uses:

  • For an employee to care for themselves or a family member for a physical or mental health condition, including a doctor appointment;
  • When an employee's place of business has been closed by order of a public official for health reasons; and
  • For an employee to care for themselves, a family member, or a household member for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Prior to the March 16, 2020 amendments, employees could use PSST when their child's place of care or school was closed due to the order of a public health official for a health-related reason. This use has been expanded to family members, and the requirement that the closure be mandated by a public health official has been removed.

These amendments also now require an employer with 250 or more full-time equivalent employees to allow their employees to take PSST when their place of business has been closed for any health or safety reason (without requiring a closure by a public health official).

For more information, visit the Office of Labor Standards Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance webpage and see the updated PSST COVID-19 Question and Answer resource by clicking here.

Pursuant to local and national public health guidance regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in the Seattle/King County Region, employers should continue to be flexible regarding sick time and paid time off use for COVID-19 related issues.

The facts, laws, and regulations regarding COVID-19 are developing rapidly. Since the date of publication, there may be new or additional information not referenced in this advisory. Please consult with your legal counsel for guidance.

DWT will continue to provide up-to-date insights and virtual events regarding COVID-19 concerns. Our most recent insights, as well as information about recorded and upcoming virtual events, are available at www.dwt.com/COVID-19.