“Today’s actions by the Trump administration and House Republicans are a devastating blow to millions of Americans who need access to health care, and particularly millions of American women. These steps gut policies meant to increase access to affordable health care for all Americans, and tell women that President Trump will make their health care decisions.
“Trump’s ‘religious freedom’ Executive Order provides dangerous exemptions for employers who want to cut off access to reproductive health care and contraception. And the House Republican’s health care bill could make being a woman a pre-existing condition again.
“This is an attempt to codify discrimination and to widen the gap between men and women in the workplace. In Seattle we will continue to support policies that benefit women in our city and make the City itself a model employer, such as the 12-week paid family leave policy passed this year. Through our leadership and our action, we will continue to provide the progressive alternative to the Trump administration.”
Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced an $18 million proposal to fund education and healthy food programs, including nearly $10 million for the Education Action Plan, a series of programs aimed at eliminating the opportunity gap between white students and African American/Black and other students of color. An additional $5.7 million will fund increased support for children from birth-to-five years old and their caregivers, such as prenatal care. And $3.2 million will fund expanded food access including the Fresh Bucks program, which provides low-income households vouchers for fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets. These programs will be funded by a 1.75 cent sweetened beverage tax Mayor Murray transmitted to Council today.
“Addressing equity in education and health are paramount challenges to ensure everyone has access to opportunity in Seattle,” said Mayor Murray. “It is imperative that we proactively support Seattle Public Schools students and improved food access with frontline programs that put equity first. Healthy kids get better educations and are more likely to have a brighter future. The sweetened beverage tax transmitted today gives the City the financial resources to address each of these challenges.”
Despite significant efforts to provide an equitable education system, a persistent opportunity gap exists between white and Black students in education. In Seattle, public school students of color meet third grade reading standards at a rate 31 percent lower than white students. The proposed investments in the Education Action Plan will be implemented using guidelines recommended by the Education Advisory Group that are directly tied to eliminating educational disparities for African American/Black students and other students of color.
The robust investments proposed in the Education Action Plan will significantly scale up programs devoted to eliminating inequality in education such as investments in before and after school opportunities like STEM extracurricular classes; adding more mentors in schools; reducing discipline disparities by providing personalized case management and providing special training to teachers; expanding summer learning programs; funding more internships; and diversifying Seattle’s teaching staff.
To fund these investments in education and food access, Mayor Murray has proposed a local tax on naturally and artificially sweetened drinks including soda, energy drinks, juice and sweetened teas. The proposed $0.0175 per ounce (1.75 cents) tax is expected to raise $23 million for the first year, and because consumption is expected to decline, $18 million annually thereafter. Of the revenue raised in the first year, 20 percent will be invested in one-time start-up costs or time-limited projects such as $5 million for the 13th Year program – an investment intended to ensure all Seattle Public Schools graduates can attend at least one year at the Seattle Colleges.
The $3.2 million investment in the Fresh Bucks program helps fund a match of purchases at Farmers Markets for low-income recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, promoting more healthy eating by increasing accessibility of fresh fruits and vegetables. This investment is important because the Fresh Bucks program is supported by federal funding which is not expected to be renewed by the Trump Administration. Additional health investments will also address food insecurity for households that do not qualify for SNAP or who may be unauthorized immigrants.
The Education Action Plan is the result of the City’s inclusive process that began in 2016 by bringing various communities together to address education disparities for African-American/Black students and students of color. The City heard from a total of over 2,000 parents, teachers, and advocates on how best to combat these disparities across 20 community conversations, on-line forums, and Seattle’s first citywide Education Summit in over 25 years. From those conversations, an Advisory Group was formed of representatives from the City, Seattle Public Schools, community organizations, businesses, philanthropies and education advocates to create recommendations that would address the opportunity gap.
More Information about the Education Action Plan and the sweetened beverage tax can be found at http://seattle.gov/educationactionplan/.
More about the community conversations, Mayor’s Education Summit and Education Summit Advisory Group can be found at http://www.seattle.gov/educationsummit.
Today, Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives pulled back their attempt to take health coverage away from millions:
“President Trump and House Republicans may have finally heard the voices of Americans and at least temporarily stopped their effort to rip healthcare away from millions. This was a top priority for President Trump and shows he intends to use his presidency to cut taxes for his wealthy friends and steer us toward a more exclusive, divisive country. Today, American values won.”
Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced a series of age-friendly initiatives for the City of Seattle to address environmental, economic, and social factors influencing the health and well-being of older adults. Supporting these initiatives, the proposed first quarter supplemental budget includes $200,000 of additional funding for 2017 to fund organizations that are developing innovative new programs for seniors, nonprofits that provide transportation options for seniors and to fund a technology symposium to create user-friendly online resources for seniors.
“While the Trump administration is actively working to dismantle America’s safety net, including health care and food assistance which protect many of the most vulnerable people in our community, including seniors, Seattle will remain committed to addressing the economic, physical and social challenges facing older adults,” said Mayor Murray. “From urban planning, growth and development to housing, transportation and services, these aspects of our community will be shaped for and by our older residents.”
The goal of these new initiatives is to increase social participation, racial equity and awareness of issues older adults face daily, while decreasing displacement. As the population of older adults in Seattle increases, the City is developing goals and indicators around departmental initiatives that consider aging adults. In addition to the new funding outlined above, Mayor Murray outlined several specific early action items for 2017 including:
- Signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the King County Department of Assessments to increase enrollments in the City’s Utility Discount Program and the state’s Property Tax Exemption/Referral Program to help older adults to stay in their homes. The goal is to double the number of seniors enrolled in both programs;
- Leveraging Seattle’s civic technology community to help the City better meet the needs of the aging population. This includes coordination of a technology symposium and design workshops to create user-friendly online resources for seniors based on best practices and innovative solutions from other cities;
- In a partnership with King County Metro, increasing usage of the Regional Reduced Fare Permit, a reduced fare program by older adults by streamlining the application process;
- Improving the pedestrian environment by assessing sidewalks with the involvement of seniors, implementing walkability audits, promoting transportation options for older adults, and incorporating age-friendly criteria into the Pedestrian Master Plan for 2018-2022;
- Involving seniors in the development and engagement process for new capital investments and increasing participation in senior-focused recreation and healthy food programs offered through the City of Seattle Human Services Department, Department of Parks and Recreation, and Office of Sustainability and Environment;
- Improving housing affordability by developing a regional housing action plan to assess senior housing needs, identifying low-income seniors to participate in the Utility Discount Program and the senior property tax exemption program; increasing access to weatherization services, home repair, and foreclosure prevention programs; and evaluating feasibility of senior home-sharing options.
“As the real estate market continues to boom we see more and more seniors facing financial difficulty,” said King County Assessor John Wilson. “I am thrilled to partner with Mayor Murray and the City of Seattle to offer relief to those who need it the most. We will work together to ensure Seattle is a place we can all afford to call home.”
In addition to early actions, Mayor Murray is committing to two community equity forums—one focused on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender elders; the other on the needs of older women. Also, the City is looking to provide older adults with better access to human services and City resources, based on best practices, new technologies and innovative solutions from other cities.
“I’m pleased to see our City so fully embrace this Age-Friendly concept, making this a city for all ages and abilities,” said Sally Bagshaw, Seattle City Councilmember. “Personally, I want to see giant steps forward in improving our sidewalks across the city. When we maintain our sidewalks, connecting them block-to-block and implementing safe crosswalks, we make a pedestrian-friendly network. The improved pedestrian environment encourages people of all ages to walk, and as we all know, a little fresh air does us good.
“A sidewalk free of bulges and holes appeals to everyone in the neighborhood, including the mom pushing her stroller, a child riding a scooter to school, and those who may find walking a challenge. Investing in safe walking routes for all of us should be a top priority for our Age-Friendly city.”
“It is important to me and to our City that we take care of our elders,” said Catherine Lester, Director of the City’s Human Services Department. “This requires us to create opportunities for social participation, to promote health and wellness, and to make sure our physical environment is accessible. These are the types of things that allow Seattle to continue to be a place where people of all ages and stages of life can thrive. Our elders, as well as all people in our community, must feel valued and be able to participate fully as part of this community.”
The Human Services Department will also design an innovation fund to identify and award funding for unique and creative projects that meet community needs. The first year will include a focus on ways to creatively move towards an age-friendly community with a specific focus on results and racial equity.
The City will consider suggestions for age-friendly improvements in the 2018 budget and will report on the progress of the initial three-year plan to the Human Services and Public Health Committee, or other appropriate City Council committees, through 2021.
Currently, 18 percent of King County’s residents are 60 years and older. By 2040, that number is expected to grow to be one in four adults (25 percent). Currently, 63 percent of King County renters age 65 and older spend more than 30 percent of their annual income on housing. Racial disparities persist in these findings. Nearly two-thirds of older Black/African Americans (60 percent) spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing, as do more than half (56 percent) of older Latino seniors. This compares to 47 percent of White older adults.
In July 2016, Seattle joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, an affiliate of the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. This initiative outlines “The 8 Domains of Livability” which include:
- Outdoor Spaces and Buildings
- Social Participation
- Respect and Social Inclusion
- Civic Participation and Employment
- Communication and Information
- Community and Health Services
The AARP/WHO framework looks for improvements in these specific areas that influence the health and quality of life for our city’s older residents. This initiative aims to help the region support the positive contributions of older adults and enable people of all ages and abilities to achieve their potential.
Today, Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s announcement reversing the Obama administration’s legal guidance to allow transgender students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity:
“The bullying coming from the White House reached even more alarming levels today when the Trump administration specifically began targeting school kids. By rescinding federal guidance from the Department of Education to stand up for Title IX protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, the new administration is sending a message that it no longer respects individual rights and ratcheting up the fear among marginalized communities.”
For the for the last 11 years, Washington state law has protected our transgender students. The 2006 passage of the Anderson-Murray Act, which Mayor Murray co-sponsored when he was a state legislator, specifically protects transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations.
In the last two years, Mayor Murray has helped advance rights and protections for Seattle’s transgender community. In 2015, he passed legislation requiring all City-controlled and privately operated places of public accommodation to designate existing and future single-stall restrooms as all-gender facilities.
And last year, Mayor Murray signed an executive order that, among other actions, instructed Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to develop uniform guidance and trainings for front-line City staff, such as police officers, on how to best continue providing safe and inclusive spaces for all residents, including transgender and gender-diverse people.
“Unlike the Trump administration, Seattle is committed to expanding rights—not undoing them,” Mayor Murray said. “As the new administration continues to assault civil liberties, we will stand up for all students in Seattle schools. We will also stand by court precedent.”
Mayor Ed Murray will be temporarily activating the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to accelerate and coordinate our response to the homelessness crisis in Seattle.
Led by Director of City Operations Fred Podesta, activating the EOC will utilize a successful model to manage coordination of both internal departments and external partners to more urgently provide services and lower barriers to housing for people living on our streets. While work at the EOC will be centered around accelerating the work of Pathways Home and getting individualized services to people living outside, the collaborative model will also foster innovative ideas to address this crisis. Work at the EOC will include:
- Accelerating the implementation of Pathways Home, the City’s plan to address homelessness and the guiding principles of getting individualized services to people living unsheltered and getting them inside quickly.
- Launching the Navigation Team, a specially trained group of outreach workers and Seattle Police officers. Navigation Team members will go into unauthorized encampments throughout the city to help identify and implement individual solutions that break down barriers preventing unsheltered people from moving indoors.
- Addressing trash and associated public health hazards to provide a safer environment for both people living unsheltered and the community at-large. People living in unauthorized encampments are more vulnerable to crime and abuse, making this work critical to their safety.
The Seattle EOC’s established mission is to minimize the impact of emergencies and disasters on the community through coordinated planning, information-sharing and resource management between all City departments, partnering agencies and the public. In this case, the City is using the coordination, communications and tracking tools of the EOC, and applying it to the work we are doing to address the critical needs of people living outside. This model provides a daily check-in on issues and solutions, engaging all of the participants in focused tactics and nimble response.
Why is the City doing this?
Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis with many causes. Those living on our streets face tremendous challenges, from the loss of a job or home to severe mental health or substance abuse disorders, that the City is working to help address.
The impact this crisis has on the individuals experiencing homelessness as well as the broader community is a growing challenge. Originally, the State of Emergency on Homelessness was intended to invoke greater help from our state and federal partners, but over a year later, we are still waiting for that needed support.
The City has already implemented many initiatives and new resources in the last three years, led by Pathways Home, the plan to create a more integrated homelessness services system based on individualized services and measurable goals. This plan has the core mission of breaking down barriers to moving people inside. As part of the effort to tailor services, the City launched the Navigation Team, will be opening a new Navigation Center, and is implementing the Bridging the Gap plan to address the immediate needs of 3,000 people living on our streets. More than $100 million has been budgeted for this work over two years.
How is this different from what the City is already doing around homelessness?
We are capitalizing on the EOC’s successful, proven unified structure that brings all players into the same room to coordinate efforts and ensure an efficient operation. This structure also has many resources in place that facilitate quick and clear coordination, communication and execution of duties. Using the EOC model, the City will tap into all of its resources to align our efforts around the current principles of Pathways Home, and to foster more innovative solutions to the homelessness crisis.
How is this different from a typical EOC activation (e.g., related to severe weather or other acts of nature, massive public events, etc.)?
While employing the EOC for the homelessness crisis is unconventional, aiding those living on our streets requires the kind of coordinated, citywide effort the EOC is designed to facilitate. This activation will be open-ended, as the City works to address this crisis from many angles, and will include daily check-ins with all representatives, followed by on the ground work to help people living on our streets.
Who is involved?
Like other events where the EOC is engaged, all City departments will have some role, whether leading specific programs or simply providing resources to the effort. City deparments already partner both internally and externally with stakeholder agencies and organizations, and social service, shelter and housing providers to help people living on our streets move inside. The EOC has been a successful model to coordinate with internal and external partners such as King County, Public Health, WSDOT, Washington State Patrol, the United Way of King County and other service providers.
What are the goals of this effort?
The City’s strategy, Pathways Home, is guiding all the work we do to move people into housing, which is our ultimate goal. With this in mind, the goals of the EOC activation include helping those living outdoors move into shelter as quickly as possible by developing an individual pathway to housing based on their needs. The activation will support the Navigation Team, which focuses on solutions for individuals, helping people living unsheltered move to safer alternatives and connect them with services to ensure their stability.
Additionally, the City will continue to focus on collecting trash on public property to reduce the associated public health hazards in unauthorized encampments and in the community. This work will be done based on the principles laid out in Bridging the Gap, which detailed that new protocols for encampment cleanups must ensure the civil rights of residents are respected.
Is the City still using the Pathways Home plan?
Yes. The City is focused on making the support system more efficient and effective to move people into housing as quickly as possible and offer individualized services. This plan is called Pathways Home and it includes six strategies that revamp the entire service delivery system. We are working with shelters to increase emergency shelter capacity and expanding access to those services. See www.seattle.gov/pathwayshome for more.
How long will the City be using the EOC?
The City is committed to helping people move indoors as quickly as possible. We will use the EOC as long as it is needed.
What is the cost?
City departments will utilize existing resources for this effort. It is not anticipated that new funds will be required for this coordination. However, Mayor Murray announced an effort to double the funding to address homelessness during his State of the City speech, to significantly accelerate and expand the City’s work under Pathways Home.
For more information on the City’s homelessness response, visit: http://seattle.gov/homelessness.
Mayor Ed Murray proposed major new investments in education to eliminate the opportunity gap between white students and African American/Black students and other historically underrepresented students of color. These investments are based on recommendations from the Education Summit Advisory Group. To fund these recommendations, Mayor Murray will propose a local tax on sugary drinks including some forms of soda, energy drinks, juice and sweetened teas. The proposed ordinance would impose a two-cents ($0.02) per ounce tax on distributors of sugary drinks.
Several other cities have implemented similar taxes to fund critical issues such as education, and have found additional health benefits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said soda taxes are “the single most effective remedy to reverse the obesity epidemic,” and a similar tax in Berkeley, Calif. reduced the consumption of sugary drinks by 20 percent.
The proposed tax is expected to raise $16 million per year to fund programs recommended by the Education Summit Advisory Group.
Who Would Pay?
- The tax will be levied on distributors of sugary drinks in the City.
- The tax applies to all distributors regardless of the size of the business.
What Products Would be Subject to the Tax?
- The ordinance defines sugary drinks to include liquids with a specified amount of caloric sweetener, syrups and powders that are used to prepare sugary beverages, including:
- Sodas (such as Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew)
- Energy and sports drinks (such as Monster, Red Bull, Gatorade, Powerade)
- Fruit drinks (such as Sunny D)
- Sweetened teas and ready-to-drink coffee drinks (such as Arizona, Starbucks)
- The ordinance exempts such beverages as 100% fruit juice, in-store prepared coffee beverages, infant formula, medicine, and would NOT apply to “diet” beverages.
What Programs Will Receive Funding from the Revenue Raised by the Tax?
- Revenue raised through this tax will be primarily focused towards funding the recommendations from the Education Summit Advisory Group. These recommendations are aimed at reducing disparities between white and African American/Black students and other historically underrepresented students of color.
- As part of these programs, investments will be made for Birth-to-Five programs such as expansion of the Parent-Child Home Program.
- Additional investments will be made to expand healthy food access through the “Fresh Bucks” program.
Mayor Ed Murray announced a series of new investments in education, based on recommendations that came from over a year of community engagement, aimed at addressing disparities between white students and African American/Black students and other historically underserved students of color. The City will raise revenue to provide on-going investments in enhancements to birth-to-five programs, before-and after-school opportunities, family engagement, addressing disproportionality in discipline, summer learning, school-based mentoring, and added college and career readiness programs. It also includes a significant one-time expansion of the 13th Year Promise Scholarship.
The on-going investments (two-year totals) include:
- Promoting Family Engagement and Collaboration – $2.7M
Expand opportunities that increase parents’ ability to support their child’s learning and increase educators’ ability to authentically engage parents. Add funds to schools for parent engagement activities and parent advocates.
- Enhancing Before and After School Opportunities – $35K (2018-19 School Year)
Increase wraparound programs that occur outside of regular school hours including STEM learning opportunities, partnerships with Seattle Parks and increasing funding to community based organizations.
- Expanding School-Based Mentoring – $581K
Match a caring adult with every child who is struggling to keep up with school requirements. Increasing funding for successful programs like My Brother’s Keeper to additional middle schools and ensure all students have the support they need to succeed.
- Reducing Disproportionality in Discipline – $1.5M
Build a positive school culture and support student social-emotional development. This will include coordinated parent, student and teacher outreach so that students having issues at schools can receive personalized case management. Funding will also be made available to train teachers and staff on how to reduce discipline disparities.
- Increasing Innovation School Investments – $3.8M
Develop a tiered approach to intervention with students who are performing below grade-level to equalize the playing field. This funding will expand the number of middle and high schools getting flexible funds—a model that asks the school to creatively meet the needs of their students. Programs can include: social/emotional support, college and career planning, experiential learning, more rigorous curricula and culturally relevant curricula.
- Growing Summer Learning Programs – $2M
Provide struggling students with additional academic time to catch up with their peers, free and nutritious meals, and high quality enrichment experiences. Programs funded could include cultural or gender specific programming for summer enrichment activities.
- Adding Workplace-Based Learning Programs – $2M
Foster post-secondary success and workplace preparedness by providing stipends for students to experience career opportunities.
- Supporting Educator Workforce Diversity – $841K
Create opportunities for instructional assistants to earn their teaching certificates. Funding will provide more support for diverse assistants to gain credentials needed to join the teaching corps, facilitating an easier pipeline process.
- Expanding Birth to 5 year Investments – $4M
Expanding programs to care for and prepare children with social and academic skills, setting them up for academic success in school.
- 13th Year Investment – $5M (one time investment)
The 13th Year Promise Scholarship provides scholarship and payment assistance – along with college readiness classes – to graduates from select Seattle Public High Schools for the first year attending any of the Seattle Colleges. The new funding will help create an endowment to help expand the program, managed by the Seattle Colleges.
Mayor Murray has also challenged the City to create strong relationships across all sectors – business philanthropy, higher education community based organization, parents, students and educators – so the vision of an equitable Seattle can be achieved. The City and Seattle Public Schools will be convening an education roundtable with community and business partners to knit together a shared public and private vision for ending the opportunity gap together.
To implement this action plan, Mayor Murray announced the partnership and financial contributions of key members of the philanthropic community, in addition to a measure to raise revenue. Contributors include:
- Seattle Foundation
- Casey Family Programs
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Raikes Foundation
- Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
In November, the City received recommendations from the Education Summit Advisory Group and began working to implement programs which will effectively address the achievement gap. The City is already working to address systemic inequity in 2017 by increasing summer learning programs to serve an additional 200 students including investing in culturally relevant programs, expanding My Brother’s Keeper to five additional middle schools and implementing the innovation school model in a high school. The Department of Education and Early Learning will work to dovetail the additional program investments announced today with ongoing work to end disparities in education.
These recommendations resulted from a community engagement process that heard from more than 2,000 community voices and culminated in the first citywide Education Summit in more than 25 years.
The City remains committed to working with our partners in Olympia to pass a statewide funding plan for basic education that ensures that all students, no matter their zip code or background, have equal opportunities for success.
Our Best is the City of Seattle’s first ever initiative focusing specifically on improving life outcomes for young Black men. The initiative represents a focused investment by Mayor Murray that aims to address the disproportionate impact of institutional racism on Black people, and particularly young Black men. Ensuring that all Seattle residents have access to opportunity requires focused approaches to dismantling racial disparities, removing barriers and transforming systems that have hurt our most marginalized communities. By investing in a staff position and structure around Our Best, Mayor Murray seeks to ensure the mission becomes embedded in our City’s DNA and becomes a lasting model.
Mayor Murray launched the Youth Opportunity Initiative to ensure that every young person in Seattle has access to opportunities and resources that allow them to transition successfully to adulthood.
Rooted in the key pillars of the Youth Opportunity Initiative, Our Best is an explicit commitment to programmatic and systems changes the ensure young Black men have access to opportunity. Specific goals include:
- Close opportunity gaps in Seattle Public Schools by increasing the percentage of black male high school graduates and postsecondary attainment.
- Advance economic mobility by increasing the number of Black males gaining access to and engaging in meaningful employment opportunities.
- Increase the percentage of young Black men experiencing good health.
- Reduce the percentage young Black men entering the criminal justice system.
- Close mentoring gaps for young Black men and boys by recruiting more Black men to service as mentors for young Black men.
Through the Youth Opportunity Initiative, the City has already invested in several strategies aimed at supporting young black men to be their best for themselves, their families and their community, including Career Bridge, the Zero Detention Program, My Brother’s Keeper and more.
With the launch of Our Best, the City is also committing to:
- A robust new mentoring recruiting and training campaign for black men. In Seattle, there are not enough black men mentors, leaving many mentor programs ill-equipped to support young black men in culturally responsive ways. Our goal with this new commitment of the Our Best program is to double the number of black men mentors.
- Convening the Our Best Advisory Council to advise the Mayor and City leaders on a long-term strategy to support young black male achievement.
- Creating a new Special Advisor to the Mayor focused on black male achievement to work full time across departments, with the Advisory Council and with the many community leaders who have already been working in this area.
Our Best is all of ours. And the fight for young black men is a fight for Seattle, and our region.
Aligned with the Race & Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), Our Best builds on the administration’s existing investments in and record of addressing life outcomes for young Black men and represents the culmination of a series of actions by Mayor Murray, including:
- Establishing a Youth Opportunity Cabinet which includes Dwayne Chapelle (Department of Education and Early Learning), Catherine Lester (Human Services Department) and Brian Surratt (Office of Economic Development) in 2016 to ensure coordination and alignment across the numerous City departments to maximize impact of City investments.
- Mayor Murray signing onto Cities United (2013), a collective of mayors across America who united to end violence in their cities.
- Mayor Murray signing onto President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (2014), a national call to action for cities to address opportunity gaps faced by boys and men of color.
- The Mayor’s Youth Opportunity Summit (2015), an all-day convening with youth and young adults that specifically focused improving outcomes for young men of color.
- A series of community listening sessions with young Black men led by the Mayor’s Bloomberg-funded Innovation Team (I-Team).
To learn more about Our Best, visit: http://murray.seattle.gov/ourbest.
Today, Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember M. Lorena González enacted new paid family and parental leave policies and new wage transparency measures. The bills call for the current paid parental leave policy for City employees to be increased to 12 weeks and provides four weeks of paid family leave for employees to care for sick family members. The legislation makes Seattle the first municipality in the region to offer robust parental and paid family care leave. These benefits will be implemented retroactively to January 1, 2017 allowing City employees to access this leave for events starting this year.
Also, beginning in March, City employee salaries will be made available on Seattle.gov to increase wage transparency throughout City departments to help close the gender and racial pay-gap at the City. These proposals stem from the City’s Workforce Equity Strategic plan.
“No person should be forced to choose between their job and caring for their family,” said Mayor Murray. “These measures ensure City employees will no longer be forced to take unpaid leave to care for aging parents, and new moms will have access to more paid leave to welcome and care for a child. These are steps in the right direction and I urge private businesses to follow our lead in creating a fairer workplace for people of color, women, and working families.”
“It’s no secret that family-care obligations often fall to women, and particularly women of color,” said Councilmember González (Position 9, Citywide). “With paid family and parental leave policies get to the heart of racial and gender equity, today we remove institutional barriers to employment opportunities at the City and once again, lead the country by living and practicing our values.”
“No one should have to choose between taking care of loved ones and earning a paycheck,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia). “When a new child is born or adopted, or a family has a health crisis, City of Seattle employees will now have a minimum of 12 weeks of paid assistance. And vacation leave and sick leave can be ‘banked’ to provide more paid time for the family. As employers, we know that our new plan will bring us in line with other industrial nations, and data confirms our city will benefit from deeply loyal workers and healthy families.”
“Not everyone has children,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle and South Park). “Therefore, since family-care duties are often fulfilled by women, and chiefly women of color, extending paid family leave beyond just parental leave is a matter of equity – both inside and outside City Hall.”
Those employed by the City for at least six months will automatically receive eight weeks of paid parental leave when a new child is born or a child is placed in their legal care. Four additional weeks are available to employees depending on the amount of leave remaining in their vacation and sick time balances.
Paid Parental Leave:
- The leave benefit will increase from four weeks to up to twelve weeks for eligible employees, for the non-medical care of a newborn or child placed for adoption, foster care or legal guardianship.
- The leave must be used within 12 months of birth or placement.
Paid Family Care Leave:
- Eligible employees may receive up to four weeks for the care of a qualifying family member with a serious health condition in a 12-month period.
- Qualifying family members include employees’ parents, spouses or domestic partners and children, or the children or parents of employees’ spouses or domestic partners.
- Eligible employees must have the serious health condition of a family member certified by a health care provider, and must draw down their sick leave to a minimum of two weeks and vacation leave to one week to receive “new” leave.
Increased paid family and parental leave benefits are projected to cost the City $2.3 million in General Funds annually. In July of 2016, Mayor Murray and the City Council unveiled a joint comprehensive Workforce Equity Strategic Plan to promote greater workforce equity, including actions to improve hiring, promotion and career development; reduce institutional barriers for current or potential employees; as well as broaden parental leave policies and increase family care benefits for City employees. The bill was introduced by Councilmember González and cosponsored by Councilmembers Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Council President Bruce Harrell, Herbold, Rob Johnson, Debra Juarez, Mike O’Brien, and Kshama Sawant. Mayor Murray will sign the legislation into law this Friday, February 17.