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Seattle’s Large Grocery Store Employers Are Now Required to Pay Hazard Pay

January 29, 2021 Alert

The Seattle City council passed a bill on January 25, 2021, requiring certain large grocery employers to pay hazard pay to their employees until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a Glance

  • Large grocery employers are required to pay employees $4.00 per hour as hazard pay in addition to their employee’s base pay until the COVID-19 Pandemic has officially ended.
  • The ordinance is effective immediately after being passed on January 25, 2021.
  • Failure to comply with this new measure may result in violations and fines.

Introduction

The Seattle City council passed a bill on January 25, 2021, requiring certain large grocery employers to pay hazard pay to its employees until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this new ordinance employers are required to pay employees $4.00 per hour in addition to their base pay until the COVID-19 pandemic has officially ended. For 2021 tax year, the standard minimum wage for employers with 500 or more employees is $16.69 per hour. The new requirement requires employers to pay additional $4 per hour in addition to the standard rate. This new measure prohibits employers from decreasing an employee’s pay in response to the increase to the hazard pay and is effective immediately upon its passing date.

The following employers are mandated to pay their employees' hazard pay:

  • Grocery employers with 500 or more employees or,
  • Retail stores in Seattle City with more than 10,000 square feet that primarily sells groceries or,
  • Stores over 85,000 square feet for whom at least 30% of the sales floor is used to sell groceries.

However, certain types of grocery employers are exempt from this measure. The following list highlights exempt grocery store employers:

  • Convenience stores
  • Food Marts
  • Farmers Market

Next Steps

Employers must display a written notice of rights established by this new ordinance within the 30 days of the ordinance’s effective date. In addition, employers are required to retain records that prove compliance of this new measure for each employee for three years and failure to comply may result in violation and fines.

For more additional details, please review the ordinance Council Bill No:119990.

Thank you for choosing Paylocity as your Payroll Tax and HCM partner.

This information is provided as a courtesy, may change and is not intended as legal or tax guidance. Employers with questions or concerns outside the scope of a Payroll Service Provider are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified CPA, Tax Attorney or Advisor.


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