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.
Seattle businesses want good employees and to reward them with fair wages to meet their needs. But wild swings in the minimum wage and pockets of wages much higher than the statewide minimum create serious financial challenges for retailers with multiple store locations and endanger the livelihoods of stores, especially small businesses in rural locations. Deserving workers are entitled to earn as much as the market will allow. But the businesses that write the paychecks have to first survive before the raises can be paid.
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.