Our Proposal

Key Elements of Proposed Paid Sick and Safe Days Standards for Washington

Proposed Legislation:

Paid leave by business size (based on full time equivalent employees and 40-hr work week):

  • 5 to 49 FTE: employees accrue 1 hour for every 40 worked, up to a 40 hour cap.
  • 50 to 249 FTE: employees accrue 1 hour for every 40 worked, up to a 56 hour cap.
  • 250+ FTE: employees accrue 1 hour for every 30 worked, up to 72 hours. If the employer provides a combined paid leave policy, such as PTO, employees accrue up to 108 hours.

Permitted uses of paid sick and safe time:

  • For the employee’s illness or injury, diagnosis, treatment, and preventative care;
  • For health needs of a child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, or grandparent;
  • To cope with the consequences of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking;
  • If the worker’s place of business, or a child’s school or place of care, is closed for a public health emergency.

Flexibility and responsibility:

  • PTO and other paid leave: Employers may provide PTO, another method of accrual, or more generous benefits as long as the minimum is available as sick and safe time.
  • Shift swapping: With the consent of their employers, workers may swap shifts instead of taking paid leave.
  • Carry over and caps: Accrued leave up to the cap carries over into the next year. Employees are not entitled to use more leave than their capped amount in a year.
  • Waiting period for new employees: Leave begins accruing immediately, but employees aren’t entitled to use it for 180 days.
  • Retaliation prohibited: Workers cannot be penalized for using leave for covered purposes.
  • Recordkeeping: Employers do not need to change recordkeeping practices, as long as records reasonably reflect hours worked and leave accrued and taken.
  • Payment of medical certification costs: Employers may require documentation for absences longer than 3 consecutive days. If employers do not offer health insurance, employers and employees each pay 50% of the costs of obtaining such documentation.
  • Collective bargaining agreements: Labor unions and their employers may bargain over provisions.