Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

State House passes Washington’s first statewide paid sick days bill

Woman with tissue and hot drink Today, the Washington State House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed HB 1313 – a bill establishing minimum standards for earned paid sick and safe time. The bill will protect 1 million Washington workers who do not currently have access to paid sick days.

“No working family should be forced to leave a sick child at home or go to work with the flu for fear of losing their paycheck.  Today’s paid sick days bill means they won’t have to,” stated Representative Laurie Jinkins, the bill’s prime sponsor. “I am proud of how small businesses, community groups, faith leaders and workers have come together with lawmakers to pass a bill that strengthens our families and communities.”

HB 1313 will allow employees to earn 5 to 9 days of paid sick and safe leave, depending on the employer’s size. The bill will bring new sick leave protection to hundreds of thousands of workers including 140,000 in accommodation and food service, 150,000 in retail and 90,000 in health care and social assistance. Paid sick days are a responsible way to prevent the spread of disease and keep communities healthy by encouraging sick workers and children to stay home – away from co-workers, schoolmates, and customers.

“As a business owner, I can tell you that paid sick days are good for my customers and my workers,” stated Makini Howell, chef and owner of three restaurants and a food truck. “My business has continued to grow and expand under Seattle’s paid sick days law, with new locations and jobs. My employees work hard to make my business successful, and they deserve to have the basic security of a couple paid sick days to take care of themselves or their children.”

Under HB 1313, employees will accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave time for every 40 hours worked or for every 30 hours worked if their employer has over 250 full-time employees. Workers may use sick and safe time for their own illness or injury, diagnosis or preventative care, or for the health needs of a child, spouse, domestic partner, parent-in-law or grandparent. Workers may also use sick and safe time to cope with the consequences of domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking. The bill was sponsored by Representatives Farrell, Morrell, Green, Dunshee, Lytton, Sawyer, Sells, Fitzgibbon, Riccelli, Moeller, Appleton, Reykdal, Roberts, Ryu, Pollet and Moscoso.

“Today, the Washington State House of Representatives took a step toward strengthening the economic security of working families,” stated Marilyn Watkins, director of the Washington Work and Family Coalition. “Washington’s families, communities and economy will be stronger when working people have enough income to cover the basics while protecting their own health and caring for their loved ones.”

“It is a great day for workers and our communities. A big thanks to the members in the House who supported this and particularly Rep. Jinkins who championed the bill. The Senate should take up this bill now and pass it so we have paid sick and safe days for workers across the state,” said Sarah Cherin Political and Public Policy Director of UFCW 21.

Across the country, states and cities are taking action to expand access to paid sick days. Connecticut, Jersey City, Newark, New York City, Portland, OR, San Francisco, SeaTac, Seattle and Washington D.C. have passed laws allowing workers to accrue paid sick leave.

Via the Washington Work and Family Coalition

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