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 many who work in food service, retail and even health care.

Washington state has helped lead the way on paid sick leave policy nationally, from introducing one of the very first bills to establish minimum paid leave standards in 2003, to passing paid sick and safe leave ordinances in our 3 largest cities – that together are home to 1 in 4 jobs statewide, to the January 2016 filing of Initiative 1433, which will raise the state minimum wage in 4 stages to $13.50 in 2020 and assure that every worker in Washington can earn paid sick leave.

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. Tacoma became the first city in 2015 to pass a paid sick leave law, and Spokane joined the growing club in January 2016 (that law will go into effect in January 2017).

Where It’s Working

More than 30 U.S. cities and five states have adopted paid sick leave standards. 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.