Paid Sick Leave

Employers Learn what employers need to know about the new paid sick leave law
What employers need to know

Starting January 1, 2018, employers in Washington will be required to provide their employees with paid sick leave.

Initiative 1433, which was approved by Washington voters in fall 2016, contains 4 primary changes to state law:

  • Requires employers to provide paid sick leave to most employees beginning January 1, 2018.
  • Increases the minimum wage over the next several years.
  • Ensuring tips and service charges are given to the appropriate staff and,
  • Protects employees from retaliation when exercising their rights under the Minimum Wage Requirements and Labor Standards Act.

Paid Sick Leave Requirements

Accrual

  • Most employees must accrue paid sick leave at a minimum rate of 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. This includes part-time and seasonal workers.
  • Paid sick leave must be paid to employees at their normal hourly compensation.
  • Employees are entitled to use accrued paid sick leave beginning on the 90th calendar day after the start of their employment.
  • Unused paid sick leave of 40 hours or less must be carried over to the following year.
  • Employers are allowed to provide employees with more generous carry over and accrual policies.

Usage

Employees may use paid sick leave:

  • To care for themselves or their family members.
  • When the employees’ workplace or their child's school or place of care has been closed by a public official for any health-related reason.
  • For absences that qualify for leave under the state's Domestic Violence Leave Act.

Employers may allow employees to use paid sick leave for additional purposes.

Rulemaking for paid sick leave

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has been developing rules to explain and enforce the new requirements.

These rules include:

  • Procedures for employers to notify their employee(s).
  • Recordkeeping and reporting requirements regarding paid sick leave.
  • Processes to protect employees from retaliation for the lawful use of paid sick leave.

The Paid Sick Leave Rules (50 KB PDF) were finalized in October 2017. Rulemaking for enforcement of the new law is underway.

Learn more about paid sick leave rulemaking (lni.us.engagementhq.com).

Paid family and medical leave

The Washington State Legislature passed the paid family and medical leave bill in the 2017 legislative session. This new law will be administered by the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Beginning in 2019, the program will be funded by premiums paid by employers and employees. In 2020, it will allow workers to apply for up to 12 weeks of paid leave for personal illness, pregnancy or illness of family members.

For more information, see Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) (www.esd.wa.gov).

 

For more information

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