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What seasonal employers need to know.


Labor Alert
August 30, 2017
New WA Paid Sick Leave Law
I-1433 paid sick leave goes into effect Jan 1st.
A new paid sick leave requirement established in Initiative 1433 in Washington state will go into effect on January 1, 2018. Wafla will be hosting a webinar in the coming months to better explain compliance and administration. Watch your inbox for details. 

This is different than the new paid family and medical leave requirements in SB 5975 that was passed by the legislature last session. This will go into effect in 2020 and we will have another webinar on this new mandated leave later.

Back to the new mandated paid sick leave in I-1433, here is a summary of the new law including seasonal hourly and piece rate workers:

  • All employees (including seasonal) accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for each 40- hours worked as an employee.
  • Current employees will begin to accrue paid sick leave for hours worked beginning January 1, 2018.
  • New employees hired after January 1, 2018 begin accruing paid sick leave on their start date of employment.
  • Sick leave does not accrue when not working (including during vacation, paid time off, or while using paid sick leave).
  • Employers must allow employees to carry over at least 40 hours of accrued, unused sick leave to the following year.
  • Employers may cap carryover of accrued, unused paid sick leave to the following year at 40 hours.  Employers may choose to allow a more generous carry over.
  • "Year" can be calendar year, fiscal year, benefit year, employment year, or any other fixed 12-month consecutive period established by the employer for the purpose of calculating wages and benefits.  The default definition of "year" is the calendar year.
  • The employee is entitled to use accrued, unused paid sick leave beginning on the 90th calendar day (not business days or days worked) after commencement of employment.
  • An employee is authorized to use sick leave for the following reasons: employee's, or care for a family member's, mental or physical illness, injury, health condition, diagnosis, care, or treatment, or preventative medical care, or absences that qualify under the domestic violence leave act.
  • For absences exceeding 3-days, the employer may require verification that the employee's use of paid sick leave is for an authorized purpose.
  • The rate of pay for paid sick leave is the normal hourly rate.  For piece rate workers, the hourly rate is determined by using the total earnings in the most recent workweek divided by the total hours worked in that workweek.  For employees paid a salary, divide the annual salary by 52 to determine the weekly salary ad divide that by the normal scheduled hours of work to get the hourly rate.
  • If the employee separates from employment and is rehired by the same employer within 12-months of separation, the employer must reinstate accrued, unused paid sick leave.
  • If the rehired employee had previously met the 90th calendar day requirement, the balance is available for use upon rehire.  If the rehired employee had not met the 90th calendar day requirement prior to separation, they pick up where left off to count toward the 90 day requirement.
  • Upon rehire, the employer must provide notification to the employee of the accrued, unused paid sick leave available for use by the employee.
  • The employer is not required to pay out accrued, unused paid sick leave at the time of separation.  An employer may choose to.  If paid out, the employer does not have to reinstate the employee's previously accrued, unused sick leave.

The employer must provide notification of their entitlement to paid sick leave to existing employees no later than March 1, 2018 and must be provided to employees hired on or after January 1, 2018 when he or she starts employment.

Again, we will be conducting a webinar on this topic in the coming months. Watch your inbox for more information. Webinar season pass holders will automatically be registered.


This information is produced by wafla for informational purposes only. The items contained herein are provided for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Wafla does not provide legal advice or counsel; and readers should make their own inquiries before making any decision based on this or any other information received from wafla. If you have questions regarding this alert, please contact the editor, Kim Bresler.

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