Seattle Proposes Revisions to Minimum Wage Rules

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

February 16, 2017

The Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) has proposed revisions to the city's minimum wage rules.

The changes are intended to harmonize the rules with the Wage Theft Prevention and Harmonization Ordinance, a ballot initiative increasing the statewide minimum wage, an ordinance establishing OLS as an independent office and "other requests for clarification from the public."

Key changes include:

  • Employees typically based outside Seattle - Employees who are typically based outside of Seattle and perform work in Seattle on an occasional basis are covered by the ordinance in a two-week period only if they perform more than two hours of work for an employer within Seattle. The draft rules clarify that such employees must work for an employer outside Seattle city limits for more than 50% of their work hours in a year.
  • Service charges - The draft rules clarify that a service charge - meaning a "separately designated, automatic amount collected by employers from customers that is for services provided by employees, or is described in such a way that customers might reasonably believe that the amounts are for such services," such as an automatic gratuity added to the bill for large parties in a restaurant - may still count toward Seattle's minimum wage and minimum compensation, but only for earnings above the state minimum wage.
  • Payroll records - The draft rules clarify that an employer must keep records of service charges, tips, payments toward employees' medical benefits, and the actuarial value of medical benefits.

Members of the public have until February 28 to comment on the proposed rules. The OLS expects to issue final rules in March, Senior Policy Analyst Karina Bull told XpertHR.