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Seattle Holds Workshops On Paid Sick Leave

Ruby de Luna

Seattle is holding workshops this month to help employers get ready for a new law that takes effect in September that requires paid sick leave for workers.


The last few months have been busy for Elliott Bronstein at the city's office for civil rights.

Bronstein: "We've been fielding just a ton of questions both in email and phone."

Bronstein's job is to get the word out about the city's paid sick leave ordinance and how it works. He provides technical help for employers to implement the new policy.

Bronstein: "Many of them have benefit packages already in place and they want to know if what they have passes muster or if there are small adjustments they need to make."

Last September the City Council passed the ordinance that sets the standards for paid sick leave. It's intended to give employees paid time off when they're ill, or to care for a family member with medical needs. Paid sick leave could also be used when a worker is dealing with domestic violence, assault or stalking.

The new policy covers both full–time and part–time workers. It affects businesses with more than four employees. The number of accrued sick leave depends on the size of business. For example, a shop with more than four employees, but fewer than 50 is considered a small business.

Bronstein: "Employees will accrue one hour for every 40 hours worked. And employers are required to allow them to use up to 40 hours in a calendar year."

And if they don't use all of their hours they can carry them over to the next calendar year.

Bronstein says it might seem daunting to comply with the new law, but the department is holding a number of free workshops this month to help businesses.

Bronstein: "There often are ways to integrate this new ordinance into your existing business practices that don't have nearly the impact or fiscal cost that people fear at first."

And if you can't make it to the workshop, you can contact the Office of Civil Rights with questions.

I'm Ruby de Luna, KUOW News.

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