Earned Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance Takes Effect in 2017

Spokane City Council passed ordinance Monday

Ben Stuckart, City Council President, 509.625.6258, bstuckart@spokanecity.org

Friday, January 15, 2016 at 2:06 p.m.

On Monday, Jan. 11, the Spokane City Council passed into law a sick and safe leave policy within the City of Spokane. The ordinance contains a delayed implementation provision, which means it will not become law until Jan. 1, 2017.

The City of Spokane will engage in extensive outreach and education efforts before the effective date of the ordinance. The City Council and Administration will also work with businesses and stakeholders on defining enforcement mechanisms during the delayed implementation.

The details of the policy that was passed by Council are as follows:

  • Employees covered under the ordinance will accrue one (1) hour of leave for every 30 hours worked.
  • Employees of businesses that have fewer than 10 employees may use up to 24 hours of leave accrued under this ordinance. Immediate family members of the business owners are not included in the employee count.
  • Employees of businesses that have 10 or more employees may use up to 40 hours of leave accrued under this ordinance.
  • The ordinance will apply to all employers in the City of Spokane whose employees physically perform more than 240 hours of work within the City.
  • The ordinance does not apply to work-study students, independent contractors, seasonal workers or those engaged in “construction work” as defined in WAC 296-155-012.
  • The ordinance gives startup businesses a year after the issuance of their first City of Spokane business licenses before they must comply with all the requirements.
  • Employees may use leave for purposes of: Diagnosing, caring or treating their own, or their family members, mental or physical illness, injury or health conditions; Any reason identified in RCW 49.76.030 or to seek protection or safety from events or conduct specific in SMC 10.09.010(B); Any period in which the business or the employee’s child’s school or place of care is closed by order of a public official; Bereavement leave in connection with a family member of the employee.
  • Employers may allow employees to swap shifts or use Paid Time Off (PTO) for the purposes identified above and the same amounts provided for in the ordinance.
  • Nothing prohibits employers from requiring a probationary period for covered employees before they can use accrued leave, provided that any such probationary period may be no longer than 90 days.
  • Employers must post a notice in a place commonly accessible to employees summarizing employees’ and employers’ rights and obligations concerning earned sick and safe leave under this ordinance.
  • Employers must maintain records of employee’s earned sick and safe leave accrual and use for three years.
  • Employers must provide information to employees about the amount of earned sick and safe leave an employee has used or has in balance no less frequently than once per quarter and employee request.
  • One year after the ordinance becomes effective, an evaluation of the ordinance’s impact will be done by city staff or an agency contracted by the City to do so.