FAQ

Who would be covered by the  earned paid sick time ordinance?

The ordinance covers any employee of a private business or non-profit who performs at least 80 hours of work within city limits in a year.  The ordinance does not cover non-employees like interns or independent contractors. This ordinance also does not cover government employees.

In what situations may an employee use earned paid sick time under this ordinance?

Employees can use earned paid sick time for reasons related to their own health or a family member’s health, including physical illness, injury, mental illness, or preventative care. Employees may also use earned paid sick time if they or a family member needs to receive medical attention, take legal action, move, or obtain other victim services related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

How much paid sick time does the ordinance allow employees to earn?

Under the ordinance, employees must earn at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours of work.  Employees of small businesses with 15 employees or less must earn at least 6 paid sick days (or 48 hours of paid sick leave) in a year. All other employees must earn at least 8 paid sick days (or 64 hours of paid sick leave) in a year. Unused earned paid sick time can roll over from one year to the next, but an employer can cap an employee’s maximum amount of available paid sick time at 48 or 64 hours, depending on the employer’s size. An employer may also restrict employees from using earned paid sick time on more than 8 calendar days in a year.

How will this ordinance impact employers that already provide earned paid leave?

This ordinance will have no effect on employers that already provide paid time off to their employees, either as sick time or vacation time, as long as the employers’ existing paid leave policies meet the requirements of the ordinance. The ordinance does not prevent employers from implementing a paid leave policy that goes above and beyond the city’s requirements.

How much is an employer supposed to pay an employee when they use earned sick time?

Under the proposed ordinance, an employer should pay an employee who uses earned sick time in the same way that the employer pays that employee for hours worked. An employer does not need to pay an employee any overtime, commissions, or tips that the employee would have earned during the hours  paid sick time is taken, but an employer does need to pay at least the state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for any hour of earned sick time used. For example, tipped restaurant workers who usually earn $2.13 an hour plus tips would have to be compensated at least $7.25 an hour when they use earned paid sick time.

What would an employee need to do in order to use earned paid sick time?

If an employee needs to use earned paid sick time, they will need to let their employer know prior to their scheduled work time. In situations where an employee cannot anticipate their need to be absent from work, like accidents or medical emergencies, employees do not need to make a request to use earned paid sick leave before their scheduled work time.

When would this ordinance go into effect?

Most businesses would need to begin allowing their employees to accrue paid sick time on August 1, 2019. Very small businesses of five employees or less would not need to comply with the ordinance until August 1, 2021.

How soon can an employee use their earned paid sick time?

Under the ordinance, employees would be able to use their earned paid sick time as soon as it accrues. In some instances, employers could prevent new employees hired for a period of one year or longer from using earned paid sick time during their first 60 days of employment.

Apart from providing earned paid sick time, what else does this ordinance require employers to do?

Employers must keep records tracking the amount of earned paid sick time that their employees have accrued and requested. At least once a month, employers must provide a statement ot each of their employees showing the amount of paid sick time that is available to them. In addition, the city may require employers to post a notice about the requirements of the ordinance in a place that is visible to their employees.

How will this ordinance be enforced?

Complaints of potential violations of the ordinance, including anonymous complaints, may be filed with the city for investigation. If the city concludes, after conducting an investigation, that an employer has not complied with the requirements of the ordinance, the city will give an employer ten days to come into compliance.  If voluntary compliance is not achieved within that ten-day time period, the city may assess a civil penalty against the employer for up to $500 per violation of the ordinance.