City of Seattle Announces the Grocery Employee Hazard Pay Ordinance to take Effect February 3, 2021

Employees of large grocery businesses in Seattle will earn and additional $4 per hour 

Seattle (January 29, 2021) – The City of Seattle announces the new temporary, emergency Grocery Employee Hazard Pay Ordinance (GEHP), which will take effect Wednesday, February 3, 2021 upon signature by Mayor Jenny Durkan. Under the temporary law, grocery store businesses that employ more than 500 employees worldwide are required to pay hazard pay of $4 per hour to their employees during the COVID-19 emergency.  

“A disproportionate number of people of color are essential workers, and Seattle must continue to lead the way to provide relief and respect to those that have served our community throughout this pandemic. Grocery store workers have continued to work every day of this challenging time and I am glad we are finally able to recognize and compensate the effort that has kept stores open and communities fed over the past year,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. 

“I was honored to sponsor legislation that supports our city’s grocery workers who keep our community healthy, safe, and fed. These measures truly reflect our city’s values –protecting vulnerable workers, building healthy communities, and building a prosperous economy for all Seattle residents. Hazard pay is only one piece of the puzzle, and I’ll continue fighting for essential workers who need early and equitable access to vaccines and other safety measures at their worksites,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Position 8 (Citywide).  

“The Office of Labor Standards (OLS) is proud to be part of the effort to provide much needed support for Seattle’s grocery store employees who have worked on the front lines for our community during the pandemic. OLS will offer technical assistance to employers about their new responsibilities and will be available for workers who have questions about their new rights under this law, which will be the City’s 16th labor standard,” said OLS Interim Director Jeneé Jahn. 

“Grocery store corporations have continued to profit throughout this pandemic and paying an additional $4 an hour Hazard Pay to all their workers is the right thing to do,” said Faye Guenther, President of UFCW 21, the union representing grocery store workers. “This relief is critical for a workforce deemed essential and who have been doing the risky work in stores since the pandemic began over a year ago.” 

Covered grocery store businesses are retail stores that are either:   

  •  Over 10,000 square feet in size and primarily engaged in retailing groceries for offsite consumption; or  
  •  Over 85,000 square feet, with 30 percent or more of its sales floor area dedicated to sale of groceries.   

The ordinance will not impact convenience stores or food marts primarily selling a limited line of goods.   

Seattle joins a national effort to require hazard pay for grocery store workers in cities including Berkeley, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Hollywood, Berkeley, Oakland, Montebello, and Los Angeles County. 

For full details about the GEHP Ordinance and to view the language of the law, please visit the OLS website at https://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/ordinances/grocery-employee-hazard-pay

Grocery store employees who believe they have been denied hazard pay after 12:01 AM on February 3rd are encouraged to contact OLS by calling 206-256-5297 or contacting us online by filing out this form here.