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National Restaurant Association - Seattle paid-sick-leave mandate to take effect Sept. 1

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Seattle paid-sick-leave mandate to take effect Sept. 1

The Washington Restaurant Association and Seattle Restaurant Alliance have teamed up to provide restaurateurs with an online tool to help them understand and comply with a new ordinance that will require most Seattle employers to provide paid sick leave for employees starting Sept. 1.

WRA and SRA, along with the WRA's law firm, Cairncross Hempelmann, offer the guidance at www.seattlesickleave.com. The guidance includes an explanation of which employers are covered by the law, how employees accumulate and request leave, and new recordkeeping and notice rules for employers, among other topics.

The Seattle City Council approved the mandate last September. The ordinance is complex, running nearly 30 pages and 50+ sections long. The paid-sick-leave requirement covers businesses that employ the equivalent of at least five full-time employees within Seattle city limits, and will require these businesses to provide employees with between five and nine days of paid sick leave per year, depending on business size.

Employees in businesses with 249 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees can accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours, or one hour for every 30 hours worked in businesses that employ the equivalent of 250 or more full-time employees.

Employers have the option of instituting a probationary period where employees must wait 180 calendar days before they can start using their accrued paid time off. They can use the time for their own health conditions or to care for a family member with a health condition.

Businesses in operation less than two years or with fewer than five full-time-equivalent employees are exempt from the ordinance's rules on paid sick leave, but may be affected by the law's more general requirements.

San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut are the only other U.S. states or cities to require private employers to provide paid time off.


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