City Council May Consider Paid Sick Leave Requirement for Tacoma Businesses

There has been a low, but growing rumble around demands for an increased minimum wage and paid sick leave for workers in Tacoma. At last month's Citizens' Forum, supporters of paid sick leave packed the Council chambers, this month supporters of a $15 an hour minimum wage spoke en masse. 

Now it sounds like the City Council may formally take up one of those issues. The News Tribune reports that Mayor Strickland has announced that she plans to introduce a requirement that Tacoma businesses provide their employees with paid sick leave.

Last week the Mayor met with business representatives to share some of her ideas. The Washington Retail Association shared some of the details discussed.

  • Employees could earn 3 days of sick leave per year.
  • Sick leave would be earned based on hours worked by an employee (e.g. 1 hour paid sick leave per 40 hours worked).
  • Businesses would be required to provide proof of a paid sick leave policy in order to obtain or renew a business license.
  • Businesses with employees already covered by collective bargaining agreements, or policies giving more than 3 days per year would not be affected.
  • No businesses or non-profits would be exempt based on size.
  • Enforcement would be complaint-driven.

The ordinance is still being drafted, with input from local businesses and groups like Healthy Tacoma, which has been lobbying for paid sick leave. Strickland and others on the Council have said that they would prefer a state or federal law on the issue, but it sounds like she won't be waiting around for it. According to the Wasington Retail Association, the Mayor hopes to have the ordinance ready by the end of the year, although implementation would likely not go into effect until sometime in 2015 or even later.

Two cities in Washington, Seattle and Seatac, now require businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees, as do other cities around the country, including Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California; Jersey City, New Jersey; New York City; Washington D.C.; and the State of Connecticut.

Is this a list of cities that are simply leading a national trend, or is there another common denominator here? If so, does Tacoma belong on this list?

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Matthew D

As a business owner who does not pay minimum wage but $12-18/hour starting and paid sick days after 90 days, I find these policies assinine. I pay myself $19200 per year I cannot pay myself any less. I could not arbitrarily increase prices $2-7/man hour to keep my wages above the minimum wages in the amount they are now. Where does the increase come from other than the bottom line and thereby from me. Minimum wages are for people without skills. I do working interviews and scale pay based on skills. We bill $60/hr, wages after taxes are $18-$24/hr. I don’t see any other way to make up the difference than increasing prices. Increasing prices reduces demand. Reduced demand equals a smaller work force. Perhaps I am missing something. I want to hire more people, but there has to be sufficient business to warrant the employment.

October 28, 2014 at 12:01 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Matthew, it seems like you’re doing the right thing and providing your employees with benefits that exceed what Council is proposing, so you wouldn’t be affected by the paid sick leave change of policy.

October 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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The Mayor is so inept at managing her family’s finances that when she was convicted of ethical violations and ordered to repay the money she had to wait for her tax refund before she could make restitution.  She is demonstrably not even competent to make financial decisions for her own family.

October 30, 2014 at 9:06 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Who wouldn’t want paid sick leave? That’s like saying who wouldn’t want hot lunches for orphans. So whatever the case, the money is not likely coming from some benevolent good witch.

The money is coming from the unwashed masses. That’s right. A vote for paid sick leave is a vote for a cost of living tax—-A regular guy tax. The cost of goods and services will increase in order to pay for any cost of doing business, including wages and benefits. No business owner will pay out one red cent of his profit for any unjust ordinance. No independent-minded business owner or citizen will knowingly vote to overburden the capitalist system.

So y’all should get over your uncivil, limited, entitlement mentality.

October 31, 2014 at 9:05 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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“The cost of goods and services will increase in order to pay for any cost of doing business, including wages and benefits.”

Actually the cost of goods and services PURCHASED IN TACOMA will increase in order to pay for any cost of doing business, including wages and benefits.  Those who are pushing this are also pushing Tacoma residents to do more of their shopping online.

October 31, 2014 at 1:11 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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June 7, 2018 at 9:47 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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