Initiative 1433

An Overview of the New Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Requirements

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
As of January 1, 2018, employers in Washington must provide most of their employees with paid sick leave. For paid sick leave tools, training and other resources, go to:

Minimum wage

2018 minimum wage: $11.50 per hour

  • The minimum wage applies to all jobs, including agriculture.
  • Employers must pay employees age 16 and older at least $11.50 per hour in 2018. WAC 296-126-020 (
  • Employers are allowed to pay 85 percent of the minimum wage to employees under age 16. WAC 296-126-020 ( For 2018, this rate is $9.78 per hour.
  • Seattle, Tacoma, and the City of SeaTac currently have higher minimum wage rates. The local rate applies if it is higher than the state minimum wage rate.
  • The initiative does not change overtime pay requirements.

Future minimum wage rates

Tips and service charges

An employer must pay to its employees:

  • All tips and gratuities; and
  • All service charges as defined under RCW 49.46.160 (, except those that are itemized as not being payable to the employee or employees servicing the customer.
  • Tips and service charges paid to an employee may not offset the state minimum wage requirement.

Retaliation protections

The new law protects employees from retaliation for exercising their rights under the Minimum Wage Requirements and Labor Standards Act. This includes filing a complaint for wages owed, lawfully using paid sick leave or exercising protected rights.

Contact the Employment Standards Program at L&I by phone (1-866-219-7321) or email (

Read the text of Initiative 1433 (22 KB PDF) (

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, go to

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