May 25, 2020

Seattle Bans Employers from Requiring Medical Verification for Paid Sick Leave for 60 Days

Under Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) law, an employer normally may require verification (including a doctor’s note) for the use of PSST after three consecutive workdays in which the employee uses paid sick/safe leave. But effective immediately and through June 7, 2020, employers may not require a doctor’s note or healthcare provider verification for an employee’s use of paid sick/safe time, regardless of whether the employee seeks to use the time for COVID-19 related reasons.

Employers may seek other forms of documentation, including (1) the employee’s own statement, or (2) documentation from other individuals like service providers, social workers, case managers, or legal advocates, stating that, to their knowledge, the employee’s use of paid sick leave is for a covered purpose.

The Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) adopted this emergency rule on April 8, 2020, and strongly encourages employers “to be flexible as possible given the COVID-19 Civil Emergency.”

Unless OLS takes further action (like early revocation or extension of this temporary rule), the old rule about sick leave verification will automatically become effective again on June 8, 2020.

Please note: this rule only affects employers within the Seattle city limits. At the time of this blog’s publication, Washington’s statewide paid sick leave law still allows employers to require a doctor’s note after an employee has been absent for more than three consecutive workdays.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020

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About this Author

Michael Griffin, Jackson Lewis, Leave Health Management coordinator, Labor Disability lawyer,
Principal and Office Litigation Manager

Michael A. Griffin is a Principal and Office Litigation Manager in the Seattle, Washington, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is also the Disability, Leave and Health Management coordinator for the Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, offices, and he is the Litigation Manager for the Seattle, Washingon, office.

Mr. Griffin has a broad area of practice and responsibility with the firm. He acts as lead counsel on all aspects of employment litigation, including defending discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and...

206-626-6416
Sherry Talton Employment Attorney Seattle
Of Counsel

Sherry L. Talton is Of Counsel in the Seattle, Washington, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She advises and represents employers in every stage of disputes, from risk management to trial and appeal.

Ms. Talton has a broad base of litigation, trial, and appellate experience in numerous state and federal courts across the nation. She has assisted employers to protect their trade secrets, combat wrongful competition, comply with wage and hour laws, enforce arbitration agreements and other employment contract provisions, and implement best recruiting, hiring, and termination practices.

In law school, Ms. Talton was an associate editor for The Review of Litigation. In graduate school, Ms. Talton taught undergraduate writing courses and served as student director of the Northwestern State University of Louisiana Writing Center. As an undergraduate, Ms. Talton was a member of the 1993 National CEDA Collegiate Debate Championship Team.

206-626-6409
Jonathan Minear, Employers Attorney, Wage and Hour Compliance Lawyer, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Seattle
Associate

Jonathan M. Minear is an Associate in the Seattle, Washington, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He focuses his practice on litigating workplace law matters and assisting employers with preventive advice and counsel.

Mr. Minear represents employers in state and federal courts in a broad range of matters, including harassment, discrimination, retaliation, employment torts, breach of contract, wage and hour compliance, and wrongful termination claims. He also appears before administrative agencies, such as the Equal Employment...

206-626-6432