Thursday, January 7, 2016


Tacoma voters approved two new laws that will both become effective as of February 1st, 2016.  The first new law is based on Initiative Measure No. 1B and calls for a $12 city minimum wage phased in over two years.  The second law is the Paid Leave Ordinance that will require employers to provide up to 24 hours of paid leave annually to employees working within the Tacoma City Limits.

Like any new law, there are many areas of complication when attempting to implement the law for the first time.  To help the process, the City of Tacoma has published information dedicated to both employers and employees.  If you are not up to speed on the new laws, then please look at the below links for further information.  

If you have employees that fall under the jurisdiction of the new laws, then you will be required to act.  At a minimum, even if your current hourly wages and paid leave exceed the new requirements, you are still required to provide notice of the new laws to Employees in the Employee’s primary language.

One of the most complicated aspects of the new laws is defining which employees are covered.  For example, under the final Paid Leave Rules, an employee who travels through the City may or may not be covered by the Paid Leave Ordinance.  An Employee who travels through the City is not covered by the Ordinance if they make no stops for work purposes.  However, an Employee who travels through the City, and stops in the City as a purpose of their work (e.g. to make pickups or deliveries), is covered by the Ordinance for all hours worked in the City.  However, an Employee who travels through the City, and stops in the City solely to attend a convention, conference, training, educational class, or similar event is not covered by the Ordinance.  This is only one example of complication involving the implementation of the new law.  Other areas like telecommuting employees, donated paid leave, premium pay programs and shift swapping are also covered in the Paid Leave Rules.

Unlike the Paid Leave Rules, the Minimum Wage Rules are still in draft form.  The draft rules are in the final states of editing and review, and will be posted by the City of Tacoma as soon as possible.  The finalized rules and workplace notice will be sent out to Minimum Wage Email Update subscribers as it becomes available.

If your business has employees working in or traveling through Tacoma then make sure you are familiar with the rules going into effect as of February 1st, 2016.  Please call our office if you need any assistance.

Nick S. Wold, CPA, MA