Seattle Labor Standards Changesby Michelle Bomberger | March 31, 2016
By Victoria Bartow
On April 1st, significant changes are taking effect regarding Seattle labor standards. An overview of the changes and current Seattle laws is provided here by the Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS). Some key changes are discussed below:
Notice of Employment Information: By April 1st, employers should provide employees (new and existing) a written notice that includes the employer’s name and contact information, employee pay rate, eligibility to earn overtime, pay basis (hour, shift, week, commission), and regular payday to comply with Seattle’s Wage Theft Ordinance. Examples of wage theft include: not being paid minimum wage or overtime, working off the clock, and being misclassified as an independent contractor.
Written Paid Sick and Safe Policy: Employers that are covered by the Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Ordinance must provide a written policy. The policy must include the description of the benefit year and the employer’s policies and procedures for meeting the PSST requirements. This includes the rate of accrual, carry over, how PSST availability is given to employees, and how employees should give notification of absences. Any policy changes should be communicated to employees.
15-Minute PSST Increments: If “feasible,” an employer should offer PSST in 15-minute increments. It is unclear what “feasible” means, but employers should evaluate what it would take to make this change.
Private Right of Action: Employees can file a complaints with a court of law instead or in addition to filing with the Office of Labor Standards. This goes into effect on April 1, 2016 for employers with 50+ employees and April 1, 2017 for smaller employers.
Harsher Penalties for Violation and Retaliation: For violation of Minimum Wage, Wage Theft, and Paid Sick and Safe an employee can receive three times of the amount of unpaid wages or compensation due. If OLS finds evidence of retaliation, employees are entitled to up to $5,000.
For help navigating these changes, or for more information, contact Victoria Bartow at 425-250-0205 or email her at Victoria@equinoxbusinesslaw.com.