The Washington Paid Sick Leave Act has been enacted to be effective January 1, 2018, with draft proposed rules that are expected to be finalized in October of 2017. The Washington Department of Labor is aligning state law more closely with local ordinances in Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane, and also with Oregon state law.  

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Washington Paid Sick Leave - Initiative 1433

Jul 24, 2017

Background on the Final Act:

The Washington Paid Sick Leave Act has been enacted to be effective January 1, 2018, with draft proposed rules that are expected to be finalized in October of 2017. The Washington Department of Labor is aligning state law more closely with local ordinances in Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane, and also with Oregon state law.

As of January 1, 2018, employees may begin accruing sick leave and use it to care for themselves or a family member, when the employee’s place of business or their child’s school or place of care is closed by order of a public official for any health-related reason, or for absences related to domestic violence.

Here are the details:

  • As of January 1, 2018, employees must accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
  • As of January 1, 2018, current employees may use accrued leave as soon as it is available.
  • For employees hired after January 1, 2018, such employees begin accruing leave upon his or her date of hire. An employee is entitled to use accrued paid sick 90 days after they start work.
  • Employees are paid sick leave at the greater of the minimum hourly wage rate or his or her regular hourly wage. If the employee and employer agree, the normal hourly wage may include overtime, holiday pay or other premium rates.
  • Unless verification for absences exceeding three days is required by the employer, the employer must pay paid sick leave to the employee no later than the payday for the pay period in which the paid sick leave was used by the employee.
  • Employers may choose to offer more generous paid sick leave policies than required by law and may permit use of paid sick leave for additional purposes than required by law.

General Impact to Employers:

The general impacts to employers include:

  • Employers must allow employees to carry over at least 40 hours of accrued but unused paid sick leave to the following year.
  • There is no cap on the amount of paid sick time an employee can accrue in one year.
  • Employers may front load paid sick leave or provide the leave in advance of accrual by the employee.
  • Employers cannot require employees to use sick leave in increments greater than 1 hour unless the employer can demonstrate an undue hardship.
  • Employers are not required to allow employees to accrue paid sick leave for nonworking paid hours, such as vacation and paid time off.
  • One year is a fixed consecutive 12-month period defined by an employer.