City Council sets timeline for sick leave ordinance

Task force to make recommendations this week

Lori Kinnear, 509.625.6719

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 11:39 a.m.

The Spokane City Council expects to receive the final report and recommendations from its earned safe and sick leave task force this week. The task force was formed by Council in response to community requests to address sick leave as a workplace policy city-wide.

Twelve representatives from business, labor and non-profit organizations comprised the task force and met in May to make formal recommendations to the City Council.

“We are very thankful for the time the task force members spent discussing elements of an earned sick and safe leave policy. We look forward to reviewing their recommendations,” said Spokane City Councilwoman Amber Waldref.

The Council will continue to gather input from the community on the issue for the next six weeks.

“Council has no draft ordinance at this time,” said Council President Ben Stuckart. “We continue to listen to businesses and residents and gather relevant economic and health data. Later in the month, I hope to work with my colleagues to draft a policy that is created specifically for Spokane based on input from the local community.”

Council may include elements from other cities that have implemented successful policies; however the goal is to balance all perspectives and interests, with special consideration for the needs of Spokane’s small businesses.

“My husband owns a law practice,” stated Councilwoman Karen Stratton. “It is imperative that when discussing an earned sick leave policy, the Council values small business and balances community health goals with the need of businesses to remain competitive. We also need to ensure any policy does not discourage new businesses from relocating to Spokane.”

Council staff is developing a white paper that considers other cities’ policies, as well as local economic data, labor statistics, and recent results of the Spokane Regional Health District’s Quality of Life survey. A Public Open House has been scheduled for July 2nd to present task force recommendations, the white paper and draft policy language. Materials will be available to the public starting June 17, 2015 at


In January 2015 the Human Rights Commission sent the Spokane City Council a letter requesting it consider researching and implementing policies in several areas, including earned safe and sick leave. The Spokane Alliance, which is comprised of over 29 labor organizations, churches and non-profits, held a press event in March 2015 asking the City to consider adopting an earned sick and safe leave policy with over 30 businesses in support.