Washington’s New Paid Sick Leave Law

Good news for Washington workers: paid sick leave is now protected by law. As of January 1st, 2018, workers in Washington State earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Workers can use this paid time off to take care of themselves or family members with physical or mental illness.

The law also allows paid time for doctor visits and preventive care for you and your family. If grandma needs help at the doctor’s office, you can take paid leave and be there with her. The same is true for siblings, stepparents, adopted children and other extended family. Under the new law, employees will not be required to find their own replacements for sick days.

Workers can begin using their paid sick leave after 90 days of employment. Unused leave can be rolled over, up to 40 hours each year. The law ensures that employers pay sick leave at your regular wage, and bosses who retaliate against employees for using sick leave will be held accountable. Paid time-off can also be used when your workplace or child’s school is closed for public health reasons or to address domestic violence issues.

This law sets a minimum standard, but workers can always come together and bargain to earn more!

Have questions? Check out WA Labor & Industries’ guide to paid sick leave.

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