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Washington L&I Creates Rules for Paid Sick Leave Payouts to Certain Construction Workers

08 Nov

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Update Applicable to:

All Washington State employers who are classified with NAICS Code 23.

What happened?

Washington State Legislature passed a bill Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5111 (ESSB 5111) requiring employers to pay accrued but unused sick leave to construction workers upon separation before their 90th calendar day of employment. Effective from January 1, 2024.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) will hold public hearings on November 7 and 8, 2023, to implement new proposed rules that clarify and enforce requirements and address existing statutory requirements.

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the resources provided and it is recommended that they consult their trusted labor attorney to comply with the new requirement for construction workers, as well as participate in the rulemaking, review the proposition, and provide their input to the L&I.

What are the details?

The requirement broadly applies to employers who have workers covered under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code 23 construction. 

Employees who work for an employer that performs construction-related work but are not engaged in the construction work itself are also covered by the rule, including nonexempt administrative staff. However, they are exempt if engaged solely in residential building construction (under NAICS 236100).

The proposed rules provide that accrued and unused sick leave may be paid to construction workers under a valid collective bargaining agreement, provided the collective bargaining agreement establishes equivalent sick leave provisions required by law. In addition to the changes relating to construction workers, L&I’s proposed rules also clarify that employers are not allowed to force employees to use their accrued, unused paid sick leave when a qualifying purpose occurs.

For more information, please see the links below:

Law Firm Article

L&I Proposed Ruling

L&I Rulemaking Page

Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5111 (ESSB 5111)

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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