Public Invited to Weigh-In on Paid Leave Rule-Making

Starting next February employers in Tacoma will be required to provide up to 24 hours of paid leave per year to their employees. The basics of how that will look were included in an ordinance adopted by the Tacoma City Council in January of this year. The finer points of just how it will work still need to be hammered out.

The basics:

  • Employers will be required to award the time off, up to at least 24 hours per year, at a rate of one hour for evert 40 hours worked.
  • Employees can use the leave for health or personal safety needs (i.e. domestic violence situations) for themselves or a family member.
  • The rules apply to all employees - full- and part-time - working 80 hours or more within Tacoma city limits in a given calendar year.
  • Employees can carry up to 24 hours of unused paid leave into the next year, but they can only use up to 40 hours of leave in a year. 
  • Once a new employee has worked at least 180 hours, he/she can begin to use earned paid leave.


  • Businesses will be required to certify to the City of Tacoma on their business license applications and annual renewals that their paid leave policy complies.
  • Complaints must be made to the City in writing.
  • The City will investigate complaints, and a $250 fine may be issued.

Read more here.

Still to be determined: The nitty-gritty of who is covered; how to handle various categories of workers (telecommuting, occasional work, workers travelling through Tacoma, etc); how verification of policies, response to complaints, and enforcement will be carried out; and other details of the program's inner workings (premium pay, donated leave, etc...).

A draft of rules has been proposed, and is now available for the public to view. Read the full draft of rules here (pdf).

The public is invited to learn more, and to provide feedback on the proposed rules at a pair of public hearings coming up in June:

Public Hearings Regarding Draft Paid Leave Rules and Regulations June 10 and June 25

June 10, 2015 – 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
STAR Center (Discovery Room) 3873 S. 66th St.

June 25, 2015 – 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Tacoma Public Library Main Branch (Olympic Room) 1102 Tacoma Ave. S.

Feedback can also be shared by emailing or calling (253) 591-5306.

This was a contentious issue when it was debated at the council level. A lot of the concerns came down to general support for (or not) earned paid leave, but there was also a fair amount of uncertainty around the details of implementation. This draft should clarify some of those issues a bit... Do you still have questions?

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