Disclaimer – You are reading archive content on minimum wage. For the most current information, visit: https://wahospitality.org/resources/minimum-wage-resources/

By Paul Schlienz

Happy New Year!

2017 is now a memory, and 2018 is fresh out of the gate with some substantial changes for employers with a new state paid sick leave program and new minimum wage regulations.

Paid Sick Leave

In 2016, Washington voters passed Initiative 1433, increasing the minimum wage over time and mandating paid sick and safe leave for employees in the state. At the stroke of midnight, this component of the initiative became effective as of Jan. 1, 2018.

All non-exempt employees who are not exempt from the law, as defined under the Washington Minimum Wage Act, are entitled to accrue paid sick leave beginning 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.

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

To learn more, see the Washington Hospitality Association’s I-1433 Paid Sick Leave Toolkit.

Minimum Wage

With the passage of Initiative 1433, in 2016, the state minimum wage increased to $11 per hour in 2017. On Jan. 1, 2018 the minimum wage increased 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. Local minimum wage ordinances in Seattle, SeaTac, Spokane and Tacoma will continue to remain in effect.

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.

If you have questions about paid sick leave or the state minimum wage, contact L&I’s Wage and Hour Division at 866.219.7321 or email . For general information on state administrative policies, click here.