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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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