Seattle City Council To Vote On Revised Sick Leave Mandate On September 12th
The Seattle City Council's Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee has spent much of the summer working on revisions to a proposed ordinance that would require Seattle businesses to provide employees with "paid sick and paid safe time." As we previously discussed, if the ordinance is adopted, Seattle would join San Francisco, Milwaukee, and Washington D.C. as one of the few cities to require "paid sick and paid safe time."
Since June, the Committee has made several revisions to the proposed ordinance to make it friendlier to Seattle's businesses, including:
• Exempting businesses with fewer than 4 full-time employees ("micro employers") from the ordinance's requirements;
• Excluding college students on work study, even if they would otherwise qualify for "paid sick and paid safe time";
• Increasing the minimum eligibility requirement for employees who occasionally work in Seattle from 80 to 120 days per year to qualify for "paid sick and paid safe time"; and
• Enlarging the probationary period for employees at the largest businesses (250+ employees) from 90 to 180 days worked before any paid sick time may be used.
Despite these and other revisions, the legislation continues to be controversial with the Seattle business community. While some businesses have supported the measure, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce is urging its members to tell Seattle City Councilmembers to "slow down," "take more time" and "don't rush to mandate." The Chamber suggests that the City Council should more fully consider the impact of the leave ordinance on collective bargaining agreements, the impact on seasonal employment, and whether alternatives exist that wouldn't cause financial hardship for employers.
Despite this opposition, the ordinance is expected to be enacted in its current form on September 12.
For more information on the proposed ordinance and how it might affect your business, please contact Foster Pepper's Employment and Labor Relations Practice Group. We'll also discuss the outcome of the vote at our September 13th briefing.