On July 3, campaign organizers submitted signatures to place the “Raise the Wage Renton” initiative on the November 2023 ballot.
While groups such as the Democratic Socialists of America and various unions are promoting this effort and focusing on the initiative’s wage aspect, many other components will impact how you run your business.
The proposal would raise Renton’s minimum wage to match Tukwila’s $19.06 as of July 2023. There will be an inflation adjustment every January.
- This ordinance will immediately cover all employers with more than 500 employees. Employers with 15-499 employees will have a three-year phase-in period, and fewer than 15 employees will be exempt.
- Based on the ordinance language, franchises with fewer than 15 employees would be considered large employers if 500+ people are employed worldwide by the franchise.
Impacts on how you run your business:
- Before hiring additional employees or subcontractors, including hiring through the use of temporary services or staffing agencies, covered employers must offer additional hours of work to existing employees who, in the employer’s good faith and reasonable judgment, have the skills and experience to perform the work, and shall use a reasonable, transparent, and nondiscriminatory process to distribute the hours of work among those existing employees.
- Private right of action for up to five years after “damages occur.” The city of Renton would be given the option to list what records an employer must retain for up to five years. This list has the potential to be extensive and invasive beyond just wage records.
- The initiative allows the city to outsource enforcement. The initiative reads: “Employers shall permit authorized city representatives’ access to work sites and relevant records for the purpose of monitoring compliance with the chapter and investigating complaints of noncompliance, including production for inspection and copying of employment records. The city may designate representatives, including city contractors and representatives of unions or worker advocacy organizations, to access the worksite and relevant records.”