Top Issues in Seattle
Washington Retail has formed a Seattle business coalition to help City Council members understand the costs of a series of workplace regulations and requirements. Seattle small businesses now have a clear voice in City Council debates and decisions.
On Sept. 19, 2016, the Seattle City Council approved a restrictive scheduling ordinance applying to some retailers and restaurants by a 9 to 0 vote. The ordinance requires employers to post work schedules two weeks in advance and levies fines for violations. The Washington Retail Association opposed the ordinance and warned that it would harm employees by reducing available work hours and leaving workers with more restrictive schedules that would be harder to adjust for emergencies or other conflicts outside of work. The law will apply to large retailers with 500 or more employees and to full-service restaurants with both 500 or more employees and 40 or more locations nationwide. It does not cover smaller companies or other industries.
The Retail Industry Coalition of Seattle joined other business groups to fight the City Council’s proposed Head Tax in 2018. After passing the tax by a 9-0 vote, the Council saw an enormous public backlash, including a signature-gathering campaign to put a repeal initiative on the ballot. After over 42,000 Seattle residents signed the repeal petitions, the Council reversed course, voting 7-2 to repeal the Head Tax. RICS will continue to advocate for city government to prioritize needs and spend effectively to address those needs.
Paid Sick Leave
WR opposes government-imposed leave mandates that rob businesses of their flexibility to address specific circumstances among employees. Such mandates threaten productivity and impose burdensome costs that hit small businesses especially hard and create a great disadvantage for them. Last year, the Washington Research Council published a brief warning that imposing paid sick leave threatens many businesses by making them less competitive with others not facing the same regulation.