New Washington Paid Sick Leave Law
What You Need To Know About the New Washington Paid Sick Leave Law
One of the latest states to pass a paid sick leave law is Washington state, which requires all employers to make paid sick leave available to employees. The new HR compliance law took effect on January 1, 2018, at which point all regular employees of any company in Washington state will begin accruing paid sick leave.
A growing number of states are beginning to require paid sick leave to be given to employees. Any employer in Washington state must be aware of the law, and employers outside Washington state should at least be familiar with how the typical paid sick leave law works in case such a law is passed in their state.
Eight States Now Have Paid Sick Leave Law
Washington’s paid sick leave law is one of eight states that will have such laws in effect by July of 2018. Of those eight states, three passed the law in 2017 including New York, Rhode Island and Washington.
The New York paid sick leave law and the Washington state paid sick leave law took effect January 1, 2018; Rhode Island’s as of July 1, 2018.
The basics of each law are broadly the same, though the specifics differ between the states. Generally, employees of a company must be given paid sick leave, which must accrue at a minimum state-mandated rate. An accrual rate of 1 hour per 40 hours worked is most common.
Monitoring the accrual of this paid leave time is made easier with best-in-class time and attendance software.
Typically, the law will only apply to employers of a certain size; at least 6 employees is common.
Prior to these three laws taking effect in their respective states, a paid sick leave law is in effect in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont and Washington D.C. Additionally, many cities are mandating employers within their jurisdiction offer paid sick leave.
Washington Paid Sick Leave
Washington paid sick leave came into being with the passage of Initiative 1433, ratified by the voters of Washington state. It took effect on January 1, 2018.
As of that date, all regular employees of companies in Washington state – which aren’t already accruing paid sick leave that meets or exceeds the minimum standard as part of employment – must begin accruing paid sick leave, at a minimum rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours they work. This covers full-time, part-time and seasonal workers.
Going forward, new hires must begin accruing paid sick leave upon their hire date. However, they will not be legally eligible to utilize until 90 calendar days after their hire date. Unless of course, the employer opts to offer more generous benefits.
Up to 40 hours of paid sick time can be rolled over into the following year. Employers cannot prohibit carrying unused time into the next year, but can prohibit rollover of more than 40 hours.
Any paid sick leave taken is to be paid at either Washington state minimum wage or the employee’s hourly rate, whichever is greater. Usage can be if an employee is sick, to care for an ill family member, qualifying absences under the state’s Domestic Violence Leave Act, or if a child or qualifying dependent’s school or care facility has been closed due to a health event.
Additional Rules for WA Paid Sick Leave To Be Determined
The WA paid sick leave law, which can be viewed in its entirety on the Department of Labor and Industries website, is not entirely finalized. Additional rulemaking is due to take place in 2018.
Additional components of the law are also due to take effect in 2019 and 2020, as the law also includes paid family medical leave, up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for family members or for maternity leave. This leave will be funded by premiums paid by employers and employees.
Employers should keep an eye out for updates from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries as they become available.