Bellingham initiative 4 would create secure scheduling and hazard pay requirements

Sep 23, 2021
Written by wpengine

Late this summer, citizen activists qualified four initiatives for the November general election ballot in Bellingham.

Local small businesses in that city are leading a campaign to defeat one of the four. Initiative 4 would profoundly impact Bellingham, imposing broad and expensive new requirements on small businesses, local government, non-profits, the school district, and Western Washington University.

Initiative 4 would require all employers to provide their workers with a work schedule two weeks in advance. Virtually any change to that schedule, whether initiated by the employer or the employee, would trigger a requirement for penalty pay. Seattle has a similar scheduling mandate, but it only applies to retailers and restaurants with 500 or more employees. Initiative 4 imposes those requirements on all employers – large and small, for-profit and non-profit.

In addition, initiative 4 would require all employers to provide hazard pay of $4/hour any time a local or statewide emergency is declared – even if the emergency (like the current state drought emergency) poses no threat to workers in Bellingham. Employers with fewer than 30 employees would only be required to provide hazard pay for 14 days. The hazard pay mandate would remain in effect for all other employers until the emergency order is lifted.

Washington Retail is engaged in the campaign opposing initiative 4. Contact Mark Johnson, Sr. VP of Policy and Government Affairs by email if you want to get involved in the campaign. We will continue to provide updates on the campaign.