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Tacoma's Higher Minimum Wage And Paid Leave Policy Will Start Feb. 1

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Tacoma workers will be entitled to a minimum wage of $10.35 starting Feb. 1, up from the state’s current wage floor of $9.47. It’s the first of several hikes that will gradually phase in a $12 minimum wage approved by voters in November.  

Tacoma’s new paid leave ordinance also kicks in at the beginning of February. Melanie Harding, employment standards program manager for Tacoma, said the city has information online to help businesses and workers figure out how the paid leave ordinance applies to them.

“There’s a checklist we’ve made available on the website so if an employer or an employee has a benefit plan already in place and they want to see how it measures up, they can kind of go down that checklist and make sure they’re fulfilling all the details of the ordinance,” Harding said. 

Employees will be able to earn one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours they work and can accrue up to three days’ worth in a year. Businesses can still offer more generous policies.

People can use paid leave to stay home sick or take care of a sick family member or for other reasons, such as seeking safety in the case of domestic violence.

The city is holding two information sessions about the policies at the main branch of the Tacoma Public Library this week.

Seattle's City Council passed an ordinance in 2014 that phases in a $15 minimum wage by next year for large employers who don't pay benefits.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.
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