On January 1, 2018, the Washington State Paid Sick Leave (“PSL”) law went into effect, requiring that all Washington employers provide PSL to non-exempt employees. Details of the PSL law are outlined in our previous advisory found here. As part of the new law, employers are required to provide a one-time notification to all eligible employees informing them of their rights under the law. Current employees (those employed before January 1, 2018) must receive the notification on or before March 1, 2018. Newly hired employees (those hired on or after January 1, 2018) must receive the notification at the time of hire.

The employee notification must include the following:

  • Employees’ entitlement to PSL;
  • The rate at which employees will accrue PSL;
  • The authorized purposes for which PSL may be used; and
  • That retaliation by the employer for the employee's lawful use of PSL is prohibited.

Employers must provide the notification in written or electronic form and the information must be readily available to all employees. Employers may use a copy of their PSL policy as the notification if it includes the above information. Additionally, employers can use a standard form provided by the Department of Labor and Industries found here. Regardless of whether employees use their own PSL policy or another method to notify employees, employers must provide a notice to all eligible employees informing them of their rights under the law by March 1, 2018.

As noted in our previous advisory, while the PSL law does not require that employers have a written PSL policy, a written policy is required if:

  • Notice of paid sick leave use is required;
  • Verification is or may be required for absences exceeding three days;
  • Paid sick leave is frontloaded; or
  • An employer has a shared leave program in which an employee may choose to donate paid sick leave to a co-worker.

Regardless of whether a written policy is required by law, employers are strongly recommended to have one, because a written policy will provide clear guidance to managers, supervisors, and employees with regard to the specific terms and conditions of PSL use.

Given the nuances of the law, and the interplay with local sick time ordinances and federal and state leave laws, we recommend consulting with legal counsel for appropriate guidance. For more information or to request review of your policy or notice, please contact your DWT attorney.