Seattle provides answers on paying minors, temp workers and employees who receive a portion of service charges.
Just days before Wednesday’s start of Seattle’s new minimum-wage law, the city Friday issued final rules designed to clarify questions such as how much to pay minors, how to determine what temp workers should make and whether service charges count as tips.
Minors younger than age 16, say the final rules, should be paid at least 85 percent of the minimum wage.
For temp workers and others working at staffing agencies that contract with outside employers, whichever employer is larger — either the staffing agency or the outside employer — determines how much the employee will be paid.
For instance, if a staffing agency with 100 employees contracts to provide workers for a large business with more than 500 employees, then the temp worker must be paid according to what a large employer would pay.
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And vice versa: If a large staffing agency provides workers for a small business, those workers must be paid large-organization wages.
Service charges — for instance, those collected at restaurants or banquet facilities for services provided by employees — are considered commissions, not tips, and cannot be counted toward meeting the state minimum wage.
But once the state minimum wage has been met, the portion of the service charge that goes to the employee can be used to meet Seattle’s minimum-wage requirements.
The final rules included only “minor, non-substantive changes” to the draft rules the city issued in February, according to the Office of Labor Standards, a new division within the city’s civil-rights office that will oversee the minimum-wage law.
The office also posted a new workplace poster and expanded FAQ on its minimum-wage-law website.
Seattle’s minimum-wage law states that, starting April 1, large organizations in the city must pay their workers at least $11.
Smaller businesses (those with 500 or fewer employees) must pay what the city is calling a “minimum compensation” of $11.
They have two ways of reaching that minimum compensation: either by paying a flat hourly rate of $11, or by paying a reduced minimum-wage rate of $10 an hour, with the $1 difference made up in either tips or payments made to a qualifying medical-benefits plan.