New paid sick leave laws go into effect this month in Washington State and Santa Monica, California.
As part of Washington State’s Initiative 1433, state law now requires employers in the state to provide paid sick leave for most employees, including part-time and seasonal workers. Workers will accrue a minimum of one hour of sick leave per 40 hours worked. Paid sick leave must be paid to employees at their normal hourly compensation. Employees are entitled to use accrued paid sick leave 90 days after they start of their employment. Unused paid sick leave of 40 hours or less must be carried over to the following year.
The new law also allows the use of paid sick leave to care for family members, for workplace or children’s school closures by a public health official for health-related reasons, and work absences covered by the state’s Domestic Violence Leave Act.
The state allows employers to provide employees with more generous carry over and accrual policies, and to use paid sick leave for additional purposes beyond the ones identified in the law.
Under the Santa Monica ordinance, paid sick leave is accrued for employees who work two hours within a given week in Santa Monica, including part-time and temporary employees. The city’s minimum cap for accrued sick leave increases from 40 to 72 hours for businesses with 26 or more employees and 32 to 50 hours for businesses with 25 or fewer employees. Under the new ordinance, the rate at which employees accrue paid sick leave is one hour for every 30 worked. Similar to the Washington State law, employees cannot use any accrued paid sick leave until after the first 90 days of employment.
City employees can use paid sick leave for purposes of preventative care for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition or preventive care for an employee or family member, and by an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
According to paidsickdays.org, paid sick days laws are or will soon be in place in eight states, the District of Columbia and 31 other jurisdictions.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Washington State joins Arizona, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont and Washington D.C. as states or districts that require employers to offer paid sick leave. A statewide paid sick leave law for Rhode Island will take effect in July 2018.
Cities that currently require employers to offer paid sick days include San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
There are no federal laws that require employers to provide paid sick leave for their employees.