Regional News

New Year brings with it higher minimum wage and paid sick leave for Washington workers


Dec 21, 2017

Many more workers around Washington will have paid sick leave soon. The state's new mandatory paid sick leave law takes effect in less than two weeks, on Jan. 1, 2018. Voters approved the change as part of Initiative 1433, which passed in November 2016.

The initiative also included annual increases to the state minimum wage through 2020. In 2017, the minimum wage climbed to $11 an hour; that'll change to $11.50 when we ring in the 2018 New Year.

Under the new paid sick leave law, employees will earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. The law also requires employers to carry over up to 40 hours of an employee's unused sick leave from one year to the next.

"Paid sick leave is important for all of us. No one wants employees to come into work sick. It's bad for them, their coworkers, and customers," said Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Director Joel Sacks. "The new law allows employees to take care of themselves, or their family members, when they're sick. It makes our state a better place to work."

This week, L&I adopted final rules with specifics on how the law will be enforced. The rules explain how L&I will respond to employers who violate the paid sick leave law, fail to pay employees the tips and service charges that they're owed, or retaliate against an employee. Employees can file a complaint with L&I if they believe their employer is not complying with the new law. Businesses can face fines and have to provide back pay.

 


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