Seattle creates first-of-its-kind paid sick leave for app-based workers
SEATTLE - The city of Seattle has created a permanent paid sick and time off benefits system for app-based workers.
The City Council unanimously passed Council Bill 120514, making Seattle the first city in the country to create these types of benefits on a permanent basis for gig workers.
The new bill applies to companies with 250 or more app-based workers worldwide. Under Council Bill 120514, workers will accrue one day of paid sick leave for every 30 days worked on the app that includes stops in Seattle.
It's unclear if there is a threshold of a certain number of Seattle stops to qualify, since most app-based workers operate in more than one city or town.
In summer 2020, the City of Seattle enacted the Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance for gig workers during the COVID-19 emergency. This ordinance established a temporary right for drivers and app-based workers to accrue and use PSST.
For ridesharing companies, the ordinance ended for them on Jan. 1 of this year when a statewide paid sick leave system was established.
For food delivery drivers, this ordnance would have ended on April 30.
The new bill passed by Seattle City Council would extend the permanence of the ordinance for food delivery drivers and other app-based workers, excluding ridesharing, since those companies are already covered with statewide legislation.
"We want to ensure everyone has the time to get well, recover, and help members of their family when they’re ill – whether you deliver dinner, drop off laundry, or provide any service on these apps. Workers shouldn’t have to choose between staying home to care for themselves or their loved ones and losing a day’s income. Now if you feel sick, you can stay home and recover knowing you will still have your day’s wages to put food on the table or pay the mortgage. Paid sick and safe leave isn’t just the right thing to do for individuals, it’s also vitally important to protect public health. During the last three years of the pandemic, we’ve learned that a strong sick leave policy is vital for a healthy community and a healthy economy," said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda,the sponsor of the legislation.
The law goes into effect on May 1. Paid sick and safe time benefits will be available to the other app-based workers covered in the legislation on January 13, 2024.
Mayor Bruce Harrell will sign the bill into law on March 29.