2016 Labor Standard Amendments

In December 2015, the City of Seattle approved a comprehensive set of amendments, the 2015 Wage Theft Prevention and Labor Standards Harmonization Ordinance to Seattle’s labor standards laws. The amendments better protect workers, while leveling the playing field for businesses that are already in compliance by deterring and penalizing bad-actor employers.

The comprehensive ordinance took effect on January 16, 2016. We recognize that employers are still in the process of learning about these requirements and our goal is to help employers achieve compliance.

Until September 30, 2016, the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) will not impose civil penalties and fines for an employer’s failure to comply with some of the new requirements resulting from the amendments including some of the notice requirements of the original Wage Theft Ordinance.

OLS will require employers to remedy problems and complaints (by settlement agreements or Director’s Orders, if necessary). However, the incident will not be recorded as a “violation” that incurs civil penalties and fines.

Civil penalties and fines will be waived until September 30, 2016 for the following requirements:

All Ordinances

  • Display an OLS-created “Workplace Poster” with notice of rights in English and the primary language(s) of employees at the workplace.

Minimum Wage Ordinance

  • Count employees worldwide to determine schedule size.

Learn About Minimum Wage

Wage Theft Ordinance

Learn About Wage Theft

Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance

  • Provide employees with a written PSST policy.
  • For hourly, non-exempt employees, employers must permit use of PSST in the smaller of hourly increments or, if feasible by the employer's payroll system, increments that round to the nearest quarter of an hour (i.e. 15 minutes). For overtime exempt employees, employers may permit use of PSST in accordance with state and federal wage and hour laws.
  • Comply with the new requirements for “occasional basis employees” in Seattle. Under the amended ordinance, once an employee who works occasionally in Seattle has logged 240 hours in Seattle in a benefit year, the employee remains covered by the PSST ordinance for as long as that employee works with that particular employer.
  • Retain an employee’s previously accrued PSST hours when the employer transitions to different a benefit year.
  • Retain records for three years.
  • Retain employees’ PSST hours by a successor employer.

Learn About Paid Sick and Safe Time

Publications and Resources

View Publications & Resources

Rules and Ordinances

  • Amendments: Wage Theft Prevention and Labor Standards Harmonization - Ordinance 124960, Council Bill 118585
    An ordinance relating to employment in Seattle; amending Chapters 14.16, 14.17, 14.19, and 14.20 of the Seattle Municipal Code to prescribe additional remedies and enforcement procedures, harmonize ordinance language, and add provisions to facilitate compliance; amending Section 3.14.931 of the Seattle Municipal Code to update duties of the Seattle Human Rights Commission; and amending Section 5.55.230 of the Seattle Municipal Code to require labor standards compliance for business license tax certificates.

View Rules & Ordinances