What workers need to know about paid sick days in Washington State

First things first: as of January 1, 2018, hourly workers in Washington State now get access to paid sick days when they’re sick. This huge step forward for workers’ rights and public health was part of Initiative 1433, the same ballot measure that also raised the statewide minimum wage. And we are proud to say that Working Washington was a key part of the coalition that got Initiative 1433 passed into law.

Here are the six key things every worker needs to know about paid sick days in Washington State. If any of these things aren't happening at your job, let us know about it.

1. Your employer is required to tell you how much paid sick time you have earned. 

Employers will typically include your accrued sick time on your pay stub, and they need to update that information at least monthly.

2. You earn a minimum of 1 hour of sick time for every 40 hours you work. 

If you work full-time, this adds up to about six and a half sick days over the course of a year. If you don’t use all your time one year, up to 40 hours of sick time can roll over into the next year.

3. You can take sick time if you’re sick (duh), for a medical appointment, to care for a family member, or for absences related to domestic violence.

You must be allowed to use your paid sick time after 90 days of employment.

4. Your employer cannot require you to find someone to cover your shift if you’re using sick time.

However, they can allow you to swap shifts with a co-worker if that works best for everyone.

5. You cannot be disciplined in any way for using sick time. 

Taking sick time cannot be counted against you, even if your employer uses an “occurrence” system.

6. It doesn’t matter if your employer is large or small, or if you work part-time or seasonally: if you are an employee in Washington State, you get paid sick time.

The only significant exceptions are if you are classified as an “independent contractor” or if you are among a very small group of workers considered “casual” or “live in” employees. (No we don’t like these exceptions and yes we’re working on it.)

Are any of these things not happening at your job? Let us know and we can do something about it.