The City of Seattle Publishes Guidance for Owners, Partners, Shareholders, or Board Members Concerning Its Paid Sick Time and Safe Time Ordinance

Paid Sick Time in SeattleThe City of Seattle has published a new Frequently Asked Questions document (FAQ) concerning its Paid Sick Time and Safe Time Ordinance (the Ordinance). The Ordinance requires employers to provide paid sick/safe time (PSST) to their employees who work within Seattle city limits. A previous blog post has provided a detailed analysis of this ordinance. This post focuses on the new FAQ.

The FAQ provides new guidance regarding whether an owner, partner, shareholder, or board member qualifies as an employee. See FAQ Question A.8. Seattle will evaluate such individuals on a case-by-case basis using the EEOC’s Covered Parties Guidelines.

According to the EEOC, in most circumstances, individuals who are partners, officers, members of boards of directors, or major shareholders will not qualify as employees. An individual’s title, however, does not determine whether the individual is a partner, officer, member of a board of directors, or major shareholder, as opposed to an employee. The key is whether the individual acts independently and participates in managing the organization, or whether the individual is subject to the organization’s control. If the individual is subject to the organization’s control, she or he is an employee.

The EEOC provides the following factors to consider with respect to such individuals:

  • Whether the organization can hire or fire the individual or set the rules and regulations of the individual’s work
  • Whether and, if so, to what extent the organization supervises the individual’s work
  • Whether the individual reports to someone higher in the organization
  • Whether and, if so, to what extent the individual is able to influence the organization
  • Whether the parties intended that the individual be an employee, as expressed in written agreements or contracts
  • Whether the individual shares in the profits, losses, and liabilities of the organization

Seattle’s FAQ provides additional factors.

Please feel free to contact Luke Campbell should you have any questions about this ordinance or any other legal issue.