WASHINGTON: Tacoma adopts paid sick leave ordinance
On January 27, 2015, the Tacoma City Council voted 8-1 to adopt mandatory paid sick, safe, and bereavement leave for businesses within city limits. In adopting paid leave requirements, Tacoma joins a trend that includes Seattle, Portland, Eugene, San Francisco, San Diego, and the State of California. Below are key provisions of the ordinance:
• All employers with at least one employee are required to provide paid sick, safe, and bereavement leave.
• Paid leave is provided for regular, temporary, part-time, and occasional (those working over 80 hours in Tacoma during the calendar year) employees.
• Employees accrue one hour for every 40 hours worked, up to a total of 24 hours (3 days); accrual starts upon employment.
• Employees may carry over up to 24 hours of unused paid leave and use it in the next year, not to exceed 40 hours of use.
• The paid leave may be used for sickness and health care for the employee or his/her family member’s business or school closure, domestic violence or sexual assault protection, and bereavement.
• Existing paid time off (PTO) policies are fine so long as they provide the minimum leave provisions.
• Employers must create a reasonable tracking system to notify employees of accrued and available leave.
• Employers must provide notice of the paid leave rights to employees; the City is developing a poster for employers to use.
• The ordinance takes effect February 1, 2016.
Tips: The ordinance, although similar to Seattle’s Sick and Safe Leave law, has some notable differences, including accrual amount, carryover and use, occasional employee definition, and bereavement use. For details on the Tacoma ordinance, see the City’s web page for the ordinance.
Vigilant will keep members apprised of any updates on the paid sick, safe and bereavement leave ordinance.
Call your Vigilant employment attorney for help understanding the differences and whether the ordinances impact your employees that work in Seattle and Tacoma.