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Tacoma’s Paid Sick Leave

Author: Venus Dean-Bullinger    Posted: December 29, 2015

As you may or may not know, the Tacoma “Paid Sick Leave Law” will be going into effect February 1, 2016.

You can visit http://www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/one.aspx?objectId=75860 for further information for Employers and Employees.

According to the ordinance, any employee who has worked 80 plus hours per year within the City of Tacoma’s boundaries, is eligible for paid leave.

Please be advised, that the calculation is based on where the employee works, not where the employer is located. At a minimum, employees are entitled to accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 24 hours per calendar yearAny unused time rolls over to the next year, and up to 40 hours can be used in a calendar year.

These accrued hours may be used for:

  • Personal health conditions
  • Taking care of sick family members
  • Watching a child whose school or daycare is closed
  • Seeking legal/law enforcement or safe accommodations for domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
  • Bereavement due to the death of a family member

Businesses need to be aware that the Tacoma ordinance requires all businesses to certify that they provide sick leave to their employees.  Remember to include information either in your employee handbook, or make sure to have it posted on the wall with your other OSHA and other L&I information in plain sight.

There is also some flexibility within the new law:

  • You may frontload the PTO hours (so as not to have to track it throughout the year)
  • Offer a premium pay program (in lieu of benefits, but this must be approved by the City of Tacoma’s Financial Director)
  • You may choose to set your calendar year (as long as it’s fair to all employees)
  • An employer may also take reasonable action against employees abusing the new PTO benefit

Remember whether you have one….. or hundreds of employees, if any employee works within the Tacoma boundaries (even to include telecommuting) they must be offered Paid Sick Leave.

We wanted all of our clients to be aware of the law and seek out assistance from a Labor/Business Law Attorney.  Please contact us for a list of attorneys in our area.

Here is to staying healthy in 2016!

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