PSL Gets Sunset Fix from Spokane

Spokane, Washington passed its Earned Sick and Safe Leave ordinance early in 2016, to be effective January 1, 2017. A few weeks ago, voters in the State of Washington approved Initiative 1433 (I-1433), which will provide PSL statewide, effective January 1, 2018.  Naturally, the local and state PSL laws differ. For example, the Spokane ordinance accrual rate is 1/30 while the I-1433 accrual rate is 1/40.

What was Spokane to do?  Add to the patchwork by having Spokane employers subject to both the local and state laws, providing employees the best of each? Or repeal the Spokane ordinance and have employers comply with the state law in 2018?

The Spokane City Council took a middle road.  On November 14, 2016, the Council decided to allow the Spokane ordinance to go into effect on January 1, 2017, as planned, and added a section stating that the ordinance will “sunset,” be of no legal effect, on the latter of December 31, 2017 or the implementation of 1-1433.  The open-ended implementation date for 1-1433 is to recognize the possibility that if a legal challenge were made to I-1433, its implementation date could be delayed beyond January 1, 2018, in which case the Spokane law would continue until the implementation date.

sunset
Photo by Mike Soltis

Kudos to the Spokane Council for adding the sunset clause. With that clause, common sense has seeped into the PSL patchwork. Now if other local jurisdictions in states with PSL laws would follow suit, we would have a less patchy patchwork!

Next week, we will do the PSL-4Step analysis on the Spokane Earned Sick and Safe Leave ordinance.