November 14, 2016
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I-1433: Voters approve $13.50 minimum wage and safe/sick leave mandate

Voters last week approved Initiative 1433, a stairstep increase to the state's minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020. The initiative also mandates that employers provide paid safe/sick leave. I-1433 passed by a 58-42 percent margin.

Under the inititaive, Washington's minimum wage will increase to $11 an hour in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12 in 2019 and $13.50 in 2020. It will then increase annually with inflation. The measure was the most aggressive statewide minimum wage increase on the ballot anywhere in the country this year, The Seattle Times reports. The Seattle Times urges the Legislature to modify the measure, slowing implementation in rural areas where costs are lower and employers "are less able than booming Seattle to quickly absorb jumps in the cost of labor."

Employers will push for clarity in exactly what counts toward the new mininum wage, Bob Donegan of Ivar's told The Puget Sound Business Journal. He said the language of the initiative isn't clear about whether health care benefits and tips are included in the minimum wage.

Also unclear was how the law's requirement for safe and sick leave will affect employers in jurisdictions like Seattle and Spokane that have already adopted policies on paid leave. With different standards now on the books, employers are concerned. The Spokesman-Review has more.

Cities that have already passed higher minimum wages won't see immediate changes from the initiative. Tacoma, which passed a phased-in $12 minimum wage last year, will stay on that track until the higher I-1433 rate overtakes it.

In short, according to the Department of Labor & Industries: Workers will be paid whichever rate is higher -- the new rising state minimum wage ($13.50 by 2020) or the wage set by city ordinance, if any.

The Seattle Times looks at where in the state the measure will have the most impact.

KXLY in Spokane notes that employers are already announcing how they will be forced to pass along the costs of higher wages, and the impact will be serious for families who have children in day care. As an example, one Spokane mother will pay $300 more each month for child care.

Contact Bob Battles, AWB government affairs director for wage and employment law, with questions, concerns, or to talk further about the upcoming rulemaking process for safe and sick leave.

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Focus on Sustainability

Cardinal Glass: A Clear Path to Energy Efficiency

Cardinal's Washington-made glass and window products help its customers around the world save money -- and the planet.

Making glass is inherently energy-intensive, but Cardinal's finished product is so energy-efficient that its carbon footprint from glass production is essentially offset within a year by the customer's reduced carbon output from lower energy use.

And Cardinal keeps its energy use as low as possible: When operating at full capacity, Cardinal's plant in Winlock has one of the lowest total emissions per ton of glass shipped of any conventional float glass plant in the world.

Read the full story in Washington Business Magazine
Don't End Workplace Flexibility

New rules complicate seasonal hiring

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Here in Washington and throughout the nation, part-time and seasonal positions have long played an important role in the economy, providing jobs with flexible schedules that benefit employers and workers alike.

With Seattle's adoption of new scheduling ordinance that restricts how employers can schedule shifts, employers and employees should keep a close eye on the unintended consequences of the nearly 50-pages of regulations, including a loss of flexibility for part-time workers, and even the loss of some part-time jobs and the benefits that come with them.

Likewise, leaders in other communities would be wise to observe the process given the recent history of a regulation starting in Seattle and spreading elsewhere...

Read the full op-ed in The Wenatchee World
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