SEATTLE ADVOCACY

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Our local government affairs team works with the Seattle Restaurant Alliance and Seattle Hotel Association to build relationships so the hospitality industry is involved in crafting legislation that has the best outcome for Seattle employees, businesses and residents. The local team also supports members with the resources found on this page.  For information about joining us as a Seattle member, click here for restaurants and here for hotels.

 

PAID SICK & SAFE TIME 

In December 2018, the Seattle City Council amended the city’s Paid Sick and Safe Time ordinance to incorporate the more generous provisions of the state’s paid sick time requirements which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 under voter-approved Initiative 1433. In June 2018, Seattle published updated PSST administrative rules which clarify the updated ordinance. The rules go into effect on July 1, 2018. Learn more here.

 

FOOD PACKAGING, UTENSILS AND STRAWS
Beginning on July 1, 2018, foodservice establishments in Seattle are banned from using disposable plastic straws, utensils and cocktail picks.  These items had received annual exemptions from the city’s recyclable and compostable foodservice packaging requirements which went into effect in 2010. In 2017, Seattle Public Utilities announced that these items would no longer be exempt from compostable requirements.

 

TAX ON JOBS

On June 13, 2018, the Seattle City Council reversed course on taxing jobs and repealed the month-old employee hours tax ordinance in a 7-2 vote. The Council had unanimously passed the jobs tax in May to levy $45-50 million in new taxes on employment at businesses with more than $20 million in annual taxable gross receipts in Seattle. This new revenue would have increased existing city spending on affordable housing and homelessness.

As both the Seattle Hotel Association and the Seattle Restaurant Alliance said from day one, taxing jobs is poor public policy that ultimately falls heaviest on labor-intensive businesses like hospitality. The tax would have hurt the city’s economic vitality and hurt the ability of hospitality businesses to provide low-barrier employment and second chance jobs that help people gain skills and financial stability. Read more

 

SWEETENED BEVERAGE TAX  
Seattle’s sweetened beverage tax went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The Seattle Restaurant Alliance has prepared a fact sheet with information and resources to help members understand this new tax.

 

HOTEL EMPLOYEES HEALTH AND SAFETY INITIATIVE (INITIATIVE 124)

Initiative 124, passed by voters in November 2016, established safety, workload and health insurance requirements for Seattle hotels. These new requirements for hotel employers went into effect on Nov. 30, 2016 as the Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative (HEHS). The final rules become effective July 1, 2018.

The Seattle Hotel Association and many of its members were actively engaged in the rule-making process, which began in January of this year. This included participating in an extensive series of stakeholder meetings and numerous public comments on the draft rules, which were released on April 9. The administrative rules and an FAQ were published on May 31.

 

SHORT-TERM RENTAL ORDINANCE
In late 2017, the Seattle City Council passed a legislative package to govern short-term rentals within city limits.  The legislation established safety, insurance and licensing requirements and limits the number of units any given operator may have. It also established a per-night tax. The ordinance will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

 

MINIMUM WAGE
In 2014, the Seattle City Council passed a Minimum Wage Ordinance which is gradually increasing the minimum wage for all Seattle employers to $15.00/hour and higher with adjustments for inflation. Large employers who reached $15/hour in 2017 are now paying $15.45 with the 2018 inflation adjustment.

 

SECURE SCHEDULING ORDINANCE

 

RESTAURANT GRADING SYSTEM 
In January 2017, Public Health – Seattle & King County introduced a new food safety rating system for King County restaurants. Rating signs must now be posted in windows, and ratings and full inspection history are available to the public online.

 

CONTACTS: 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DIRECTOR:  John Lane   johnl@wahospitality.org

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS SENIOR MANAGER:  Anna Boone   annab@wahospitality.org

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COORDINATOR: Teddi McGuire   teddim@wahospitality.org

 

 

MEMBERSHIP INQUIRIES:

SEATTLE NEIGHBORHOODS SENIOR TERRITORY MANAGER:  Cathy Fox   cathyf@wahospitality.org  /  c 253.277.1586

DOWNTOWN SEATTLE AREA COORDINATOR:  Michele Schaub   micheles@wahospitality.org  /  c 206-423-3902

 

SEATTLE RESTAURANT ALLIANCE:  www.seattlerestaurantalliance.com

SEATTLE HOTEL ASSOCIATION:  www.seattlehotelassociation.com