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$4/hour hazard pay for Seattle's grocery workers goes into effect Feb. 3

The ordinance will also double the amount retail grocery workers first got when the pandemic began.

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council voted 8-0 Monday to approve legislation that will reinstate hazard pay for grocery store workers in the city.

The ordinance takes effect Feb. 3.

Employers will pay workers an extra $4 an hour to "compensate grocery employees for the risks of working on the frontlines of a global pandemic," while also encouraging them to continue working and improving access to resources to keep them healthy.

Grocery businesses included in the ordinance include those with 500-plus employees worldwide and for Seattle employees covered by the city’s minimum wage.

It will also have provisions to limit how employers give the hazard pay – including not reducing base pay and ensuring it comes with an employee's regular paycheck -- and not all at once. 

“We should not treat them as sacrificial and we should compensate them for the hazard they are in,” Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda previously stated.

Hazard pay for grocery store workers will be in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, though the council may reconsider the legislation at the four month mark, according to a release from the council Monday.

This timeframe corresponds with the state department of health’s COVID vaccination plan to make vaccines available to all-aged grocery employees by April 2021. 

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