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UPDATE: City of Spokane Earned Safe and Sick Leave Policy

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Greater Spokane Incorporated is a champion for fair business practices and economic growth. We believe that all workers deserve to be treated fairly and to have the opportunity to pursue a successful career while ensuring the safety and health of themselves and their family. While GSI supports fair leave policies for employees, we oppose a one-size-fits-all approach that could negatively impact companies’ ability to do business, and that is why GSI’s Board of Trustees voted to oppose the Earned Safe and Sick Leave (ESSL) ordinance that City Council passed on Monday, January 11, with a vote of 6-1.

The ESSL ordinance is made up of components that could impact any business, including non-profits and healthcare establishments, which employ people on a full- or part-time basis who perform any of their employment in Spokane. This policy excludes independent contractors, sole proprietors, and employees who work in the domestic and construction industries. This ordinance will require all employers to comply and provide one hour per 30 hours worked for employees that are physically completing at least 240 hours of work inside the City. Employers with more than 10 employees will allow employees to use up to 40 hours per year while employers with fewer than 10 employees are required to offer up to 24 hours per year. Time accrued can be used for family and bereavement leave or to seek protection in domestic violence cases. While GSI supports employees having this benefit, we do not support a local government entity enforcing this policy. We are concerned about how the new law will be implemented and enforced, new reporting requirements and other unknown impacts that could disproportionately hurt small businesses.

The City Clerk office has five days from the date the ordinance was adopted to present it to the Mayor. Once it’s presented to the Mayor he will have 10 days to sign or veto this ordinance. If the Mayor signs this ordinance it will become law in 30 days. If the Mayor decides to veto the ordinance it will be sent back to the Council for review. The Council can override the veto with five votes and if that happens the ordinance will become law after 30 days. Council has until this fall to come up with administrative enforcement policies, and the ordinance would go into effect on January 17, 2017.

If you’d like more information about this proposed ordinance, contact our Public Policy Director, Erik Poulsen, or Public Policy Coordinator Sarah Dice.

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