Washington Employment Law Updates

For employment law updates for other states, visit our
main page.

October 2016

None

September 2016

September 28 – Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries announced the minimum wage increase for 2017

On September 28, 2016, Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries announced that the state’s minimum wage will increase to $9.53 beginning January 1, 2017. The sub-minimum wage for employees under 16 years old will increase to $8.10. Washington’s minimum wage law requires that the Department of Labor and Industries adjust the minimum wage each year equivalent to the percentage increase in the consumer price index for the prior year. The change must be announced by September 30 of each year.

The new minimum wage will take effect on January 1, 2017.

For more information, read Washington Department of Labor and Industries Minimum Wage Notice 2017.

September 19 – The Seattle City Council passed an ordinance regulating the scheduling practices of certain retail and food service company

On September 19, 2016, the Seattle City Council passed the Secure Scheduling ordinance that regulates the scheduling practices of certain retail and food service employers. Employers subject to the new ordinance include retail and food service establishments with more the 500 employees worldwide and full-service restaurants with more the 500 employees and 40 full-service restaurant locations worldwide. The new regulations include:

  • Covered employers must give employees their schedules at least 14 days in advance
  • Employees who are sent home from shifts must be paid for half of their hours not worked
  • Covered employers must give new hires a good faith estimate of the hours they will work
  • Employees may decline any shift added to their schedule within the two-week schedule notice period without fear of retaliation
  • Covered employers must pay employees time and a half for a second shift that starts within 10 hours of a prior shift
  • Covered employers must give notice to existing employees and offer those employees any new available hours before hiring additional employees
  • Employees must be paid half-time for any shift they are on-call and do not get called into work

Other restrictions and requirements apply.

The new ordinance goes into effect on July 1, 2017.

For more information, read Seattle City Council Ordinance 125135.

August 2016

None

July 2016

None

June 2016

None

May 2016

None

April 2016

None

March 2016

None

February 2016

February 1 – Tacoma’s sick leave law goes into effect

On February 1, 2016, Tacoma’s sick leave law goes into effect. The new sick leave law requires employers to provide eligible employees at least 1 hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked and employees must be able to earn at least 24 hours of sick leave in a year. Other requirements apply and limitations apply.

For more information, visit City of Tacoma – Sick Leave

February 1 – The minimum wage in Tacoma increases to $10.35

On February 1, 2016, the minimum wage in Tacoma increased to $10.35. This increase is the first of three minimum wage increases approved by the voters in November 2015. On January 1, 2017, the minimum wage will increase to $11.15. On January 1, 2018, the minimum wage will increase to $12.00.

For more information, visit City of Tacoma – Minimum Wage

January 2016

January 26 – Spokane City Council approves ordinance requiring employer to provide sick leave

On January 26, 2016, the Spokane City Council approved an ordinance requiring employers to provide employees with sick leave. The City Council overrode a veto by the mayor to pass the new ordinance. The ordinance will apply to physically perform 240 hours of work within the city, although it is unclear if that will be a yearly or one-time requirement. Under the new ordinance, eligible employees will earn at least 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked and will be entitled to accrue a minimum of 24 hours of unused sick leave.

The effect date of the new sick leave law is January 1, 2017.

For more information, visit Spokane City Council – Sick Leave