The City of Tacoma has now joined the paid leave party, started by San Francisco, Seattle and Portland.  On January 27, 2015, the Tacoma City Council passed an ordinance regulating paid leave requirements.  The law takes effect on February 1, 2016.

Unlike Seattle and Portland, the new law does not differentiate between the businesses size.  All employers – no matter the size – are required to provide paid sick leave as detailed by the ordinance and the impending administrative rules.

Employees (full, part and temporary) will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 24 hours paid leave within a calendar year.  All employees that work at least 80 hours within the City of Tacoma boundaries are covered by the ordinance.  Employees are permitted to carry-over up to 24 hours of unused paid leave from one year to the next, but use of that paid leave is limited to 40 years in that upcoming year.  New employees begin accruing paid leave immediately but may be required to wait 180 days after the start of employment to use that leave.

Employers that have employees working in or around Tacoma and Seattle need to pay special attention to the administrative rules being drafted.  Employees may be covered under both city ordinances.  Unionized employers should similarly pay special attention.  Simply because you have a labor agreement will not necessarily allow you to disregard the new ordinance.  Additional regulations in the future will also change an employer’s responsibilities.  Please check back in the future for Tacoma’s final administrative rules.

Christopher L. Hilgenfeld is a Washington and Oregon licensed attorney representing Employers in labor and employment laws.  For more information Chris may be contacted at chilgenfeld@davisgrimmpayne.com, or at (206) 447-0182.

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