New Year, New (Paid) Leave

Kristina Markosova | December 11, 2017

Starting January 1, 2018, all employers in Washington are required to provide most employees with paid sick leave. Below are ten facts about the new law that should help employers get into compliance by the New Year.

  1. The law applies to all non-exempt employees, including part-time, full-time, seasonal, and temporary non-exempt employees.
  2. Employees must accrue at least 1 hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked (except those employees who are entitled to accrue more paid sick leave under relevant city ordinances).
  3. Employees must be allowed to use sick leave (1) to care for themselves or their family members; (2) when the employee’s workplace or his/her child’s school or place of care has been closed by a public official for any health-related reason; and (3) for absences that qualify for leave under Washington’s Domestic Violence Leave Act.
  4. Employees must be allowed to carry over up to 40 hours of accrued unused paid sick leave.
  5. Employers may require new employees to wait 90 days after the start of their employment before using accrued paid sick leave.
  6. Employers may not cap the number of paid sick leave hours an employee uses or each year (despite city ordinances that allow such caps).
  7. Employers may require verification of the need for leave only after three days of paid sick leave.
  8. Employers may require up to ten days’ advance notice for foreseeable paid sick leave.
  9. Employers may provide paid time off policies that combine paid sick leave, vacation, and other leave, as long as the policy meets all of the requirements of the Paid Sick Leave law.
  10. On at least a monthly basis, employers must notify employees in writing of the amount of accrued, used, and available paid sick leave that the employee has available.

The Department of Labor and Industries has issued regulations with additional information on how to comply with the new law.  Additional regulations are expected in December 2017.

Kristina Markosova, an associate at Corr Cronin, is an experienced trial lawyer and regularly consults clients on employment issues.   

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