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New paid sick leave requirements drawing closer — rules process a chance for input

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August 3, 2017 #17-028

Tumwater – Washington's new mandatory paid sick leave law takes effect in less than six months, starting January 1, 2018. It's a major change as a result of Initiative 1433, approved by voters last fall.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is developing rules in two phases to explain and enforce the new requirements. The state rules process is an opportunity for people to have input into the details of how the new law will be carried out.

"We know paid sick leave is a big change for employers and workers," said Annette Taylor, deputy assistant director of L&I's Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards. "We're doing everything we can to make sure people know what the proposed rules are and have an opportunity to provide input before this significant change happens in January."

The new rules will include procedures for using sick leave, employee notification, reporting requirements, and protecting employees from retaliation for the lawful use of paid sick leave.

The rulemaking process includes public hearings around the state where people can make on-the-record comments and provide input. The first round of hearings for the rules is scheduled throughout August:

  • Tumwater, Aug. 8, 10 a.m., L&I Headquarters, Tumwater Auditorium.
  • Spokane Valley, Aug. 16, 10 a.m., Spokane CenterPlace Auditorium.
  • Pasco, Aug. 17, 10 a.m., Columbia Basin Community College.
  • Everett, Aug. 29, 10 a.m., Edward D. Hansen Conference Center.

Initiative 1433 tasked L&I with implementing numerous changes, including mandatory paid sick leave, increasing the minimum wage annually over a four-year period and ensuring tips and service charges are given to the appropriate staff. Washington will be the seventh state to require employers to provide paid sick leave. Other states include California, Oregon, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Arizona, as well as the District of Colombia.

There's more information online about the paid sick leave rules process ( People can also sign up for updates through L&I's Employment Standards' LISTSERV (


For media information: Tim Church, L&I Public Affairs,, (360) 902-5673.

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