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Office of Labor Standards Series: #1- Overview

Please follow our discussion series as we post regular blogs on the latest news with Seattle’s labor standards ordinances. We will also highlight various tools and resources that Business Impact NW can provide to educate and guide small business owners on understanding and complying with Seattle’s labor standards laws, such as Henry’s in-person OLS class on August 9th.


The City of Seattle aims to be a leader on wage, labor, and workforce practices aimed at enhancing equity, addressing wage gaps, and creating a fair and healthy economy for workers, businesses, and residents. As such, they have implemented labor standards for Minimum Wage, Wage Theft, Fair Chance Employment, and Paid Sick and Safe Time. For large retail and food service establishments, they have also implemented Secure Scheduling ordinances. Additionally, for hotels, they have implemented the Hotel Employees Health & Safety Initiative. The Office of Labor Standards (OLS) was created in 2015 to implement and enforce these laws.

What does this mean for a small business owner operating or employing workers in the City of Seattle? First and foremost, it means understanding the labor standards ordinances that apply to your business and knowing your responsibilities for being in compliance with those laws. Through a partnership with the Office of Labor Standards under the Business Outreach and Education Fund (BOEF), Business Impact NW provides outreach, education, and compliance assistance to small businesses on these laws. Our goal is to provide small business owners with the resources and technical assistance to make that first step easier.

Have you seen the 2018 Seattle Labor Standards Ordinances workplace poster?

Did you know that you are required by law to display the poster in a noticeable area at the workplace for your employees? In addition to the 11×17 English language poster, did you know that posters must also be displayed in the language(s) spoken by your employees?


The 2018 Seattle Labor Standards Ordinances workplace poster gives an overview of the main labor standards ordinances covering all employees working inside Seattle city limits and informs them of their rights as an employee. Employers must comply with these laws and retaliation is illegal.

The 2018 workplace poster was mailed to all licensed businesses at the beginning of the year. They are available at Seattle Customer Service Centers, the OLS office, and through Business Impact NW and other partners under the BOEF. The English language poster and translated posters for other languages can also be downloaded from the Office of Labor Standards website ( If downloading your own copy, it must be printed in the specified 11×17 format.

Be sure to follow our blog series as we continue to dive deeper into the details and impact of Seattle’s labor standards laws on small business owners.

Henry Wong is a Business Consultant and Office of Labor Standards Project Manager at Business Impact NW. For small business owners with employees working in the city of Seattle or for owners planning to employ workers in Seattle, Business Impact NW can provide free resources and training for understanding and becoming compliant with Seattle’s labor standards laws. Email Henry Wong at to schedule a free one-on-one counseling session. Larger group trainings are also available for organizations comprised of or engaging regularly with small business owners.

About the author

Megan Torgerson

Megan is Business Impact NW's Development Coordinator and a candidate for Seattle University's Arts Leadership MFA program. She holds a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing from the University of Montana and is passionate about storytelling of all forms, nature and developing community by elevating our unique stories. Megan grew up on her family's farm and ranch in Montana and is especially inspired to empower small business owners from underserved rural and urban communities.

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