Washington: Update to Paid Sick Leave Law


All Employers with Employees in WA


January 1, 2024


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Quick Look

  • Paid sick leave is used at the employee’s option.
  • PTO policies that combine with paid sick leave have updated notice and tracking requirements.
  • Construction workers’ paid sick leave must be paid out upon termination.


SB 5111 amended the state paid sick leave law and regulations for all employees, as well as specifically for construction workers.

All Covered Employers

Paid sick leave is used at the employee’s option; employers cannot require employees to use paid sick leave for qualified purposes.

Employers who use paid time off (PTO) policies to combine mandated paid sick leave must meet the requirements of mandated paid sick leave, including payment at the greater of the applicable minimum wage or the normal hourly compensation. Employers must also provide employees notice that the PTO policy is meant to satisfy the paid sick leave requirements.

Additionally, if PTO policies provide a more generous benefit than what is statutorily required for paid sick leave, the paid sick leave balance must be tracked separately, and there can be no requirement to use the paid sick leave portion for more generous purposes (e.g., vacation leave) before accessing the more generous PTO leave for more generous purposes.

Covered Construction Workers

Following separation, employers must pay the balance of accrued and unused paid sick leave to construction workers classified under NAICS code 23 who have not reached the 90th calendar day of employment, except for those performing work only under NAICS code 236100. Paid sick leave is paid out at the greater of the applicable minimum wage or their normal hourly compensation. Previously paid out paid sick leave does not need to be reinstated upon rehire of construction workers. However, when a construction worker is rehired within 12 months of separation, the previous period of employment must be counted for purposes of determining the date upon which the employee is entitled to use paid sick leave. There are also additional recordkeeping requirements related to advanced paid sick leave, payment of paid sick leave following termination, and date of hire and termination.

Action Items

  1. Update paid sick leave and PTO policies, as appropriate.
  2. Update separation procedures regarding final pay.
  3. Have appropriate personnel trained on the requirements.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2024 ManagEase