Paid sick leave requirements

Paid sick leave requirements

Starting January 1, 2018, employers in Washington will be required to provide their employees with paid sick leave.


  • Paid sick leave shall accrue at a minimum rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked as an employee.
  • An employee is entitled to use accrued paid sick leave beginning on the 90th calendar day after the start of employment.
  • Unused paid sick leave of 40 hours or less must be carried over to the following year.
  • Employers are allowed to provide employees with more generous carry over and accrual policies.


  • Employees may use paid sick leave to care for themselves or a family member.
  • An employee may use paid sick leave when the employee’s work or the employee’s child’s school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official for any health-related reason.
  • An employee may use paid sick leave for absences that qualify for leave under the state’s Domestic Violence Leave Act.
  • Employers are not prevented from allowing employees to use paid sick leave for additional purposes.

Rulemaking for paid sick leave

  • In 2017, L&I will develop rules to enforce this new requirement. The rules will include procedures for notification to employees and reporting regarding sick leave, and protecting employees from retaliation for the lawful use of sick leave.
  • The rulemaking process will include opportunities for public comment, including public hearings.
  • Interested parties can sign up for updates on the Employment Standards’ listserv.
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