Eye on Hospitality: Big Changes Coming in 2018 – Paid Leave and Minimum Wage

Eye on Hospitality: Big Changes Coming in 2018 – Paid Leave and Minimum Wage https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/2018image1.jpg

By Paul Schlienz

Washington’s employers are facing some big changes in 2018. Get ready for a new state paid sick leave program and new minimum wage regulations.

Now is the time to get ready.

Paid Sick Leave

In November 2016, Washington voters passed Initiative 1433, which increases the minimum wage over time and mandates paid sick and safe leave for employees in Washington state, effective Jan. 1, 2018. It is essential that all employers get prepared.

All non-exempt employees, as defined under the Washington Minimum Wage Act, are entitled to accrue paid sick leave starting Jan. 1. These employees include all full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary, on call/substitute workers and minors. There is no minimum number of required employees or an exception for small-businesses.

All eligible employees must accrue, at minimum, one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Also, this is not 40 hours in a week or pay period, it is every 40 hours worked. There is no cap on accrual, however, an employee may only carry over 40 hours of sick leave per year. Unlike various local laws, there is no cap on usage.

The final rules on Paid Sick and Safe Leave from the state Department of Labor & Industries are expected later this month.

Click here for more details.

For Seattle specific information, click here.

Minimum Wage

With the passage of Initiative 1433, in 2016, the state minimum wage increased to $11 per hour in 2017. This year, on Jan. 1, 2018 the minimum wage will increase to $11.50 per hour. Looking ahead, employers will need to prepare for additional minimum wage increases to $12 per hour, in 2019, and to $13.50 per hour in 2020. Beginning in 2021, the state minimum wage will be adjusted annually for inflation.

I-1433 also reinforces that tips and service charges except those that are itemized as not being payable to the employee or employees servicing the customer cannot be counted towards meeting minimum wage requirements. Local minimum wage ordinances, in Seattle, SeaTac, Spokane and Tacoma, will continue to remain in effect.

For Seattle, that means minimum wages ranging from $11.50 to $15.45 per hour depending on business size and benefits. Businesses that reached $15 under the minimum wage law in 2017, must pay $15.45 in 2018 with the annual inflation adjustment.  Find details here.  In Tacoma, the 2018 minimum wage rate is $12 per hour and in SeaTac it is $15.64 for certain hospitality and transportation businesses.

If you have questions about the state about the state minimum, contact L&I’s Wage and Hour Division at 866.219.7321 or email esgeneral@lni.wa.gov. For general information on state administrative policies, click here.

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