Paid Sick Days

Paid sick days are the responsible way to prevent the spread of disease and keep everyone healthy by encouraging sick workers and children to stay home – away from co-workers, schoolmates, and customers.

Yet an estimated 1 million people working in Washington have no paid sick leave, including:

  • 170,000 in accommodation and food service
  • 167,000 in retail
  • 93,000 in health care and social assistance

Washington’s House of Representatives passed H.B. 1356, establishing statewide sick and safe leave, in March 2015, but the bill stalled in the Senate.

Since September 2012, Seattle’s paid sick and safe leave ordinance has ensured that people working in the city can care for their families’ health needs without losing a day’s wages, or their job. An April 2014 evaluation from the University of Washington concluded that the law has significantly increased access to paid sick leave, especially among restaurant workers, and that 70% of business owners are supportive. Over 20 U.S. cities and states have adopted paid sick leave standards. Tacoma became the first city in 2015 to pass a paid sick leave law. Active campaigns are underway in Spokane and Bellingham.

Where It’s Working

In 2007, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to implement paid sick days legislation, allowing all workers the opportunity to stay home with a sick child or to recover from their own illness – without risking their paycheck.

Now over 20 U.S. cities and states have passed paid sick days, including Seattle, Tacoma, and SeaTac in Washington state. Studies from the localities where paid sick days have been in effect the longest show favorable job and business growth rates.

To learn more about paid sick days in your community, visit Family Values @ Work.