January 1 marks new paid-leave requirement, 50¢ minimum wage hike
Starting January 1, 2018, employers will be required to provide most workers with paid sick and safe leave, as required by voter-approved Initiative 1433. A fact sheet is available here.
- Workers will accrue one hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 40 hours worked. This includes seasonal, temporary, and part-time workers.
- Sick and safe leave must be compensated at the worker’s normal hourly wage.
- Workers may take accrued sick and safe leave beginning on their 90th calendar day of employment.
- Up to 40 hours of accrued sick and safe leave can roll-over into the following calendar year.
- Sick leave can be taken for a worker’s own health condition, or to care for a family member.
- Safe leave applies for absences qualifying under the state Domestic Violence Leave Act. More information about that law is available here.
The state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is responsible for administering the paid sick and safe leave requirements of I-1433, as well as the minimum wage increases included in that initiative.
NFIB has been engaged in L&I’s rule-making process, including the development of the enforcement provisions. Draft rules have been released, and the department has held public hearings about the enforcement provisions.
Small businesses will need to update their leave policies and employee handbooks to comply with I-1433 requirements. NFIB and other business groups have asked L&I to provide templates, posters, and other educational materials to help you implement and comply with this new mandate. The department is seeking input on sample materials available here. Comments are requested by November 9, 2017.
L&I is also offering webinars to help employers understand the new leave law. Webinars will be held November 16, 20, and 29, 2017. There is no charge, but advance online registration is required. Click here for details and to register.
Lexology.com has shared a helpful article by the Lane Powell PC law firm’s employment team, Washington Paid Sick Leave Update: Top 10 Things Every Washington Employer Needs to Know Now. Additional sick and safe leave information is also available on L&I’s website.
In addition to this new paid sick and leave mandate, the state’s minimum wage will increase to $11.50 per hour, also effective January 1, 2018.