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Portland’s City Council may follow San Francisco and Seattle and soon enact an ordinance that would require all employees in the city limits to earn paid sick leave. The City Council could vote on an ordinance mandating paid sick days as early as the end of the year.

Seattle’s paid sick leave ordinance only went into effect September 1st, after lengthy negotiations to revise the original ordinance to make it workable for Seattle businesses. Seattle’s ordinance requires nearly all private-sector employers to provide employees who work in Seattle with specified amounts of accrued paid sick and safe time; employers with 4 to 250 employees are required to provide one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours an employee works. San Francisco’s paid sick leave ordinance has been in effect for about 5 years. There, workers accrue an hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 5 paid sick days per year at smaller workplaces with fewer than 10 employees and up to 9 paid sick days per year at larger workplaces. A study in San Francisco by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that since the enactment of San Francisco’s paid sick leave ordinance, the average worker takes 3 sick days per year. Tipped employees take an average of 2 days off and return to work sooner because their paid leave cannot make up for lost tip revenue.

Just this week, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights released its final regulations for the new Paid Sick/Safe Time ordinance. They arrived not a moment too soon, because the ordinance goes into effect on September 1, 2012. If you haven’t already started planning for compliance, you should now.

The new law will require businesses to accrue and provide paid sick and safe leave for employees when they or their family members are ill or are a victim of domestic violence. The law also includes notice and posting requirements to employees, as well as record keeping and reporting.

In an earlier posting, we walked through the basic requirements of the law. Here is a more detailed look at the law and tips on how you can ensure compliance.

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About the Editor

Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.

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