Washington State’s “Your Rights as a Worker” labor law posting has been substantially revised to allow the addition of the state’s new Paid Sick Leave Law. The Washington State Paid Sick Leave Law was part of Initiative 1433 (I-1433) passed by voters in 2016. The terms of the law, which are described on the revised “Your Rights as a Worker” posting, include that beginning January 1, 2018:
- Employees earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
- Employees may use paid sick leave beginning on the 90th day of employment.
- Employers must provide employees with monthly statements of their accrued, used and available hours.
- Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick leave to the next year.
- Labor & Industries (L&I) website for details.
The permitted reasons employees may take paid sick leave are:
- To care for themselves or to care for a family member.
- The employee’s workplace or their child’s school or place of care has been closed by a public official for a health-related reason.
- To obtain services related to domestic violence.
Posting and Notice of Paid Sick Leave
Employers are required to post the updated “Your Rights as a Worker” posting in the workplace. Employers must also notify each employee of their entitlement to paid sick leave, the rate of accrual, the authorized reasons for leave, and the protection from retaliation. In addition, employers must provide each employee with a monthly statement of accrued, available and used leave.
The implementing rules require employers to keep for each employee paid sick leave records, and to have written policies for any requirements they have regarding notice, medical verification, shared leave, frontloading policy, and Paid Time Off (PTO) programs, if applicable. L&I is expected to make sample policies available on its website. For additional details about the Paid Sick Leave Law, employers may refer to the L&I website here.
Minimum Wage Increase
With the passage of I-1433, Washington voters also raised the state’s minimum wage rate over the next four years. The minimum wage rate is not required by law to be posted, but the “Your Rights as a Worker” posting includes a new QR Code that can be scanned using a smart phone to obtain minimum wage information. The minimum wage rates are:
- January 1, 2017 – $11.00 per hour
- January 1, 2018 – $11.50 per hour
- January 1, 2019 – $12.00 per hour
- January 1, 2020 – $13.50 per hour
- January 1, 2021, and each year thereafter – an amount based on the Consumer Price Index
Service Charges and Tips
Additionally, I-1433 clarifies that all tips and gratuities and service charges, except those that are itemized as not being payable to the employee, do not count toward the minimum wage requirement and must be paid to the employee servicing the customer. Employers are not required to post this information but they are required to maintain payroll records and provide employees with itemized pay statements.
I-1433 prohibits employers from interfering with, restraining, denying or taking an adverse action against an employee because the employee has exercised a protected right to paid sick leave, minimum wage, overtime, tips and gratuities, or filed a complaint against an employer. This protection is mentioned on the “Your Rights as a Worker” posting.
Washington has also updated the Unemployment Benefits posting. Employees are able to sign up or access e-services and job search resources through new web links. Employees will also see new telephone service hours. Employers are required to have the current instructions posted in the workplace because claiming unemployment benefits is time-sensitive and fulfilling job search obligations is mandatory.
Because of these significant changes, Washington employers must post the updated Washington All-On-One™ Labor Law Poster.