As you may be aware, the City of Seattle has approved a comprehensive set of amendments, the 2015 Wage Theft Prevention and Labor Standards Harmonization Ordinance, to Seattle’s labor standards laws. The City soft launched the Ordinance and announced it would not impose civil penalties or fines related to noncompliance with some of the requirements resulting from the amendments prior to September 30, 2016. However, by September 30, 2016, the City will require employers to be in compliance. The amendments made changes to four distinct ordinances: minimum wage, wage theft, fair chance employment, and paid sick and safe time.
The City has made available a workplace poster in various languages which informs employees of their rights under the ordinances. Employers with employees working inside Seattle city limits are required to display the poster which can be found at the City’s Labor Standards website at the following link: http://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/publications
Below are some highlights related to the ordinances and amendments. More detailed information can be found at the City’s Office of Labor Standards website at the following link: http://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/ordinances/2016-amendments
Minimum Wage Ordinance:
Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance sets wages for employees working within city limits. The minimum wage varies depending on the size of the employer. Employers with 501 or more employers are required to pay a minimum wage of $13.00 per hour. Under certain circumstances, if the employer pays for medical benefits for the employee, the employer will be required to pay a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour. Employers with 500 or fewer employees are required to pay a minimum wage of $12.00 per hour. If the employee earns tips of at least $1.50 per hour, the employer is allowed to pay a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour. A notable amendment to the ordinance is that it requires employers to determine their employee counts based on their worldwide employee count rather than just those employees within the United States.
Wage Theft Ordinance:
Seattle’s wage theft ordinance provides protections against wage theft by establishing basic requirements for the payment of wages and tips within city limits. The ordinance requires employers to pay all wages and tips owed to the employees, provide written notice to employees, and itemize pay information when employees are paid.
The City has updated the written notice of employment information form that is to be provided at the time of hire and change of employment as well as to all existing employees. The notice of employment information form is available in a number of languages at the City’s Office of Labor Standards website at the following link: http://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/ordinances/wage-theft
Fair Chance Employment Ordinance:
Seattle’s job assistance ordinance has been renamed the fair chance employment ordinance and places restrictions on how employers can use conviction and arrest records during the hiring process and course of employment. The City has created a 2016 workplace poster in various languages which informs employees of their rights under the fair chance employment ordinance and other Seattle labor law standards ordinances. Employers with employees working inside Seattle city limits are required to display the poster which can be found at the City’s Labor Standards website at the following link: http://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/publications
Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance:
Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance requires employers to provide their employees working in Seattle with paid leave to take time off from work due to medical or safety issues. The City has updated which types of employees are now covered. Occasional employees that do not permanently work in the City as well as temporary employees may now be covered. The use of PSST in smaller hourly increments is now permitted. Employers can now also use any fixed, consecutive 12-month period of time to calculate accrual as the benefit year. Finally, employers must now provide all employees with a written PSST policy. Employers need to retain employees’ PSST records for three years.
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact one of MBA’s Human Resources Managers at 888-622-6460.