2024 Labor Laws Businesses Need to Know

What can the Office of Labor Standards do for businesses?

The Office of Labor Standards has a dedicated staff who answer employer questions. OLS does not share information about businesses who reach out to us with our enforcement team. We will answer questions about what Seattle's labor standards mean for your business. Labor Ordinance trainings are also available upon request.

The Minimum Wage is increasing starting January 1, 2024.

Large employers (501 or more employees): $19.97/hour

Small employers (500 or fewer employees)

Does employer pay at least $2.19/hr. toward employee’s medical benefits and/or does employee earn at least $2.19/hr. in tips?

  • If yes: $17.25/hour
  • If no: $19.97/hour

Find out more about the Minimum Wage ordinance here: Minimum Wage - LaborStandards | seattle.gov

What do you need to do if you have one or more employees?

Many Seattle labor laws apply to your business even if you only have one employee – look below to see what applies!

2024 Workplace Poster

Employers are required to post the yearly workplace poster in English, Spanish, and the language(s) commonly used at worksite. Download the 2024 Workplace Poster here: seattle.gov/laborstandards/resources-and-language-access/resources/posters The poster is also available in more than 25 languages and can be translated into others by request.

Paid Sick & Safe Time

Employers must allow employees to use their accrued paid time off:

  • to care for themselves or family members for physical or mental health conditions, for medical or mental health appointments, and for preventative care;
  • for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  • when they need to care for a family member whose school or place of care has been closed; and
  • when the employee’s place of business has been closed by order of a public official to limit exposure to an infectious agent, biological toxin, or hazardous material.

For large employers (250+ FTEs), employees can also use PSST when their place of business has been closed or reduced operations for any health or safety reason.

PSST Rates by Employer Size

Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3

Full-Time Equivalents
(FTEs) Worldwide

1 employee and up to 49 FTEs 50-249 FTEs 250 or more FTEs

Accrual of PSST per Hours Worked

1 hour per 40 hours 1 hour per 40 hours 1 hour per 30 hours

Carry-over of Unused PSST per Year

40 hours 56 hours 72 hours *108 hours for employers with PTO

Find out more about Paid Sick and Safe Time here: Paid Sick and Safe Time - LaborStandards | seattle.gov

Wage Theft

Employers must pay all wages, compensation, and tips owed to employees on a regular payday. Employers must provide written notice to employees each time wages and tips are paid with a breakdown of the wages.

For businesses with tips or service charges:

  • Managers and owners cannot participate in tip pools.
  • In order to keep a “service charge” employers must disclose how much of the service charge goes to the employee and how much goes to the house on receipts or menus. If there is no disclosure, all service charges must be paid to employees.

Find out more about the Wage Theft ordinance here: Wage Theft - LaborStandards | seattle.gov

Fair Chance Employment

Most employers are prohibited from excluding people with criminal history in job advertisements or in applications.

Employers can ask about criminal history or do a background check after they do an initial screening to eliminate unqualified applicants based on other information. Businesses can only use criminal history in employment decisions (like not hiring someone) when they have a “legitimate business reason” for doing so. Employers must allow the applicant or employee to explain or correct any criminal history information.

Find out more about the Fair Chance Employment ordinance here: Fair Chance Employment - LaborStandards | seattle.gov

What if you have 20+ employees?

Commuter Benefits

Employers with 20+ employees must allow covered employees to make monthly pre-tax payroll deductions for transit or vanpool expenses. Employers can also follow the law by paying for all or part of a transit pass. Contact Commute Seattle to get help creating a commuter benefits program by visiting the Commute Seattle website or by emailing info@commuteseattle.com.

Find out more about the Commuter Benefits ordinance here: Commuter Benefit - LaborStandards | seattle.gov

Are you an independent contractor (or hiring independent contractors)?

Independent Contractor Protections

Businesses that hire independent contractors must provide Independent Contractors who will earn at least $600 over the calendar year for all their work for that business with specific information.

Before the work begins, businesses must provide independent contractors with a “Pre-Work Notice of Rights”, a “Pre-Work Written Notice” that describes the work to be done and how payment will work. Each time payment is made, businesses must provide a written notice that gives itemized information about the payment.

Businesses also must provide timely payment within 30 days of the work being finished or the timeline stated into an agreed upon contract.

Find out more about the Independent Contractor Protections Ordinance here:  Independent Contractor Protections Ordinance - LaborStandards | seattle.gov

What laws apply to only some types of businesses?

Hotel Employee Protections

There are 4 laws that apply to hotels and businesses that either operate within hotels or regularly contract with hotels to provide services to guests (called “ancillary hotel businesses”).

  • Improving Access to Medical Care for Hotel Employees – employers must spend a certain amount for employee’s medical benefits depending on if the employee is single, married, or has dependents. Employers can do this by giving employees additional compensation, by making payments toward an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, by payments into employee’s tax favored health plans like health savings accounts. There are new amounts for 2024!
  • Hotel Safety Protections Ordinance – employers are required to take action to prevent, address, and respond to violent or harassing guest conduct which includes providing panic buttons, putting policy in place addressing these behaviors, allowing employees to be reassigned away from guests exhibiting these behaviors and more.
  • Protections from Injury Ordinance – in motels and hotels of 100 or more rooms, this law limits the amount of floor space that an employee can clean in a day and requires further payment if an employee cleans more than that limit.
  • Job Retention Ordinance – when hotels or motels change ownership, outgoing employers must provide notice of their employees of the change. For the first 180 days that the business is open under new ownership, incoming employers must hire from the list of workers employed by the outgoing employer. If those employees accept the job offer, the incoming employer must retain that employee for 90 days.

Find out more about these Hotel Employee Protections here: Hotel Employee Protections - LaborStandards | seattle.gov

Domestic Workers Ordinance

Nannies, house cleaners, household managers, cooks, and gardeners have the right to:

  • be paid the Seattle minimum wage
  • rest breaks (10 minutes during 4 consecutive hours of work)
  • meal periods (30 minutes during 5 consecutive hours of work)
  • keep personal documents (like passports)
  • a day of rest if they work 6 days in a row (for workers who live or sleep where they work)

If domestic workers cannot take meal or rest breaks due to their job responsibilities, whoever has hired them must provide payment for missed meal or rest breaks.

This law applies to domestic workers who are employees and those who are independent contractors.

Find out more about the Domestic Workers ordinance here: Domestic Workers - LaborStandards | seattle.gov

Secure Scheduling Ordinance

The Secure Scheduling Ordinance applies to retail and food service establishments with 500+ employees worldwide, including all franchises.

Employers must provide employees with:

  • a good faith estimate of the median number of hours the employee can expect to work
  • notice of work schedules at least 14 days in advance
  • extra compensation for late schedule changes including reductions in hours, increases in hours, or changes to the shift times or days
  • extra compensation for back-to-back shifts without adequate rest time (at least 10 hours of rest between a closing and opening shift)

Employers must offer additional hours to internal employees before looking to hire externally.

Employers must also allow employees to give input into the time and location of work. If the employee’s request is based on a “major life event”, the employer must grant the employee’s schedule related requests.

Find out more about the Secure Scheduling Ordinance here: Secure Scheduling - LaborStandards | seattle.gov

App-Based Worker Protections

There are currently 2 laws in place regarding app-based (sometimes called “gig”) workers who work for “Network Companies.”

  • App-Based Workers Minimum Payment – Workers are entitled to a minimum payment for work performed in whole or in part in Seattle based on their time worked and miles traveled for each offer. Workers are entitled to receive offer information up front and receipts and payment records. Workers have the right to access the app without limitations and should not be penalized for limiting their availability or refusing offers. Workers have the right to cancel an offer with cause.
  •  App-Based Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time – Workers are entitled to one day of Paid Sick and Safe Time for every 30 days worked with at least one work-related stop in Seattle (e.g. a delivery in Seattle, a pick up in Seattle). Network companies would pay the worker’s “average daily compensation rate” for the use of that day of PSST.

Find out more about the App-Based Worker Minimum Payment ordinance here: App-Based Worker Minimum Payment Ordinance - LaborStandards | seattle.gov

Find out more about the App-Based Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time ordinance here: App-Based Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance - LaborStandards | seattle.gov

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The Office of Labor Standards enforces Seattle’s labor standards ordinances to protect workers and educate employers on their responsibilities.