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RESTRICTIVE SCHEDULING RULES IN SEATTLE

by Tammie Hetrick, Senior VP of Retail Services

I have been working with members and their attorneys this week reviewing draft language from the City of Seattle. This is in preparation of another meeting in a series of rulemaking meetings regarding Seattle’s new restrictive scheduling law.

The Washington Retail Team including our Seattle contract lobbyist John Engber will come with concerns regarding how city officials are drawing plans for the way the law will work. It goes into effect on July 1.

Based on a draft of rules already circulated, we’re developing concerns about how many retailers will be affected by the costs of this law and the complications it will cause in scheduling. For larger retailers, it requires that work schedules be posted two weeks in advance or retailers will face minimum $500 fines. It also discourages hiring by requiring that available extra work hours first be offered to existing employees.

In particular, some of our members are concerned about whether they would be penalized for on-call assignments.

We’ve already begun hearing from some companies that the proposed work rules are causing them to consider closing their Seattle store locations.

We will continue to update you in the newsletter and on our website as the scheduling rules develop.

We are urging retailers who have concerns about some of the details outlined to comment or ask questions about the rules by contacting Karina Bull, OLS Senior Policy Analyst, at 206-6844536 or by emailing laborstandards@seattle.gov. More background information is available on the OLS website.

You also are welcome to contact Tammie Hetrick at 360-943-9198, ext. 13 or tammie@retailassociation.org . We expect to see a final draft rules shortly and receiving feedback now will allow the City an opportunity to address the concerns before the draft is complete.



WRA auto members warned about costly state audits

By Tammie Hetrick, VP Retail Services

Recent surprise state audits of auto repair and tire stores drive home the need for employers to assign their employees to the correct workers' compensation insurance risk class.

Failure to do so can result in expensive fines that can total several thousands of dollars.

Put simply, desk bound employees who answer phones or work at a computer, also known as clerical tasks (classification 4904), cannot include walking through a service shop as part of their normal workday. If so, they must be reclassified to a higher risk insurance class for which insurance is more expensive than coverage of a clerical employee.

Employees classified under 4904 are not allowed in shop areas for any reason, for insurance purposes. Such employees must remain at a cash register/computer or answer phones or they risk causing a fine for the company if detected in a state audit.

Any members concerned about whether they are paying into the correct risk class should contact me at 360-943-9198, Ext. 13 or at Tammie@retailassociation.org.