Final sick-leave rule is out: What you need to know


AGC is sponsoring a presentation and webinar by Darren Feider of Sebris Busto to answer all your questions about the new paid sick-leave law that takes effect on Jan. 1, 2018. Plan to attend or dial-in to the presentation to be held Thursday, Nov. 9 at 10 a.m. Attend in person at the AGC Building in Seattle (1200 Westlake Ave. N., 2nd floor conference room) or participate remotely. Register by clicking here.

This will be an up-to-date presentation on state and local leave laws in Washington. Many employers who are faced with managing leave for an employee often do not understand which leave laws must be considered. They also do not understand that one size does not fit all when it comes to leave laws and that an individualized assessment is necessary for each employee situation. This presentation will assist the persons responsible for managing employee leave to understand first which laws must be considered and then how to implement a leave plan that is suitable for the employee based on an individualized assessment. The presentation also explains the difference between laws and employer administered leave programs.

Last week, L&I released the final rule to implement paid sick leave as passed via Initiative 1433 in 2016. See the final rule here.

AGC provided extensive comments to L&I during the rulemaking process. The final rule includes some good and bad elements from AGC’s perspective. AGC appreciates the rule’s acknowledgement that flexible PTO programs satisfy the initiative’s requirements “if the PTO program meets or exceeds the provisions” of the initiative. However, the rule allows sick leave to be used in one-hour increments; AGC had urged increment usage of four or eight hours.

It's important to note that L&I has a separate rulemaking process for the enforcement and retaliation aspects of the initiative. The proposed rule (not yet final) for these elements can be found here.

L&I is working with numerous organizations around the state to help employers get ready. In November, new L&I tools and resources will be available online, including templates for paid sick leave policies. L&I is also launching a statewide paid media campaign in November including TV, radio, social media and other online ads, which will run through early 2018.

Along with mandatory paid sick leave, Initiative 1433 also increases the state minimum wage annually over the next three years. In 2018, the state minimum wage will climb to $11.50 an hour. The initiative also ensures employers pay their employees tips and service charges.