With the flu continuing to plague offices around the state, now is the perfect time to take a look at a new law in Washington that encourages employees to stay home if they, or a family member, needs care. Although it has been almost a month since the Washington State Paid Sick Leave Law went into effect on January 1, 2018, many employees are still trying to decipher what it entails and if they qualify.

The following FAQs will give you more insight into this law and how it can be beneficial for you.


Q: Who is covered?

A: Full time, part time, seasonal and temporary workers in Washington are all covered under the Washington Paid Sick Leave Law.


Q: How is paid sick leave accrued?

A: Although employers may choose to be more generous, the minimum amount of paid time off that they are required to give their employees is one hour for every forty hours worked.


Q: When can you use paid sick leave?

A: On the ninetieth calendar day of your employment, you may start using your paid sick leave. It is important to note that this time is based on calendar days, not days worked. In addition, if you had already been with your company for ninety days prior to January 1, 2018, you are eligible to use paid sick leave as soon as it is accrued and available.


Q: How much is your employer required to pay you?

A: During your paid time off, your employer is required to pay you your normal hourly compensation rate.


Q: When can I use paid sick leave?


  • To care for yourself or a family member in the event of mental or physical illness, injury or health condition
  • If your workplace, children’s school, or child’s care facility has been closed by a public official for any health-related purpose
  • If you qualify for leave under the Domestic Violence Leave Act


Q: How is “family member” defined under this law?


  • Child
  • Parent
  • Spouse
  • Registered domestic partner
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Sibling


Q: Is there a cap on the number of hours you can accrue?

A: There is no cap for the number of hours you can accrue.


Q: Will paid time off be rolled over into the following year?

A: Your employer is only required to allow you to carry forty hours over into the following year.


Q: How many days of paid sick leave can I use in a row?

A: There isn’t a limit on the amount of sick leave days that you can take in a row; however, if you take more that three consecutive paid sick days in a row, your employer can require documentation that the reason for your leave was included under the law.


If you haven’t already heard from your employer regarding this new law, you should soon- by March 1, 2018 in fact. In the meantime, check out the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry website for more information about your rights and this new law!