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02 Jul

June 2020 Washington HR Legal Updates

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Summary of State Laws (Q1 & Q2 2020)

Paid Family and Medical Leave
Effective March 25, 2020, amendments to Washington’s paid family and medical leave expand the definition of a covered child and include definitions for casual labor, paid time off, and supplemental benefits.

Effective June 11, 2020, this paid family and medical leave is further amended regarding waiting periods, supplemental benefit payments, benefits disqualification, conditional waivers, voluntary plan premiums, and enforcement and penalties.

Hair Discrimination
Effective June 11, 2020, an amendment to the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) provides that race discrimination includes discrimination based on traits historically associated or perceived to be associated with race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles, such as afros, braids, locs, and twists.

Immigrant Discrimination
Effective June 11, 2020, the WLAD is amended to prohibit discrimination based on citizenship and immigration status.

Pregnancy Discrimination
Effective June 11, 2020, the time to file an administrative complaint with the Washington Human Rights Commission regarding pregnancy discrimination is extended from six months to one year.

Lactation Accommodation
Effective June 11, 2020, employers with 15 or more employees may no longer require certification to support the need for a lactation accommodation.

Overtime Exemption
Effective July 1, 2020, Washington’s overtime exemption regulations are amended to raise the minimum salary levels and simplify the duties test for most exempt employees to more closely align with the FLSA duties tests. Effective January 2021, Washington’s minimum salary will exceed the FLSA amount by rising to approximately $827 per week (or $43,004 per year for employers with 50 or fewer employees and to approximately $965 per week (or $50,180 per year) for employers with more than 50 employees).

Seattle Hotel Employee Protections
Effective July 1, 2020, Seattle’s four ordinances (collectively known as the Hotel Employee Protections Ordinances) require hotel employers to:

  • Take certain steps to protect employees from violent or harassing conduct by guests
  • Limit the workload to reduce frequency and occurrence injuries associated with room cleaning
  • Provide increased access to medical care
  • Take actions to reduce job insecurity

Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time
Effective March 18, 2020, amendments to Seattle’s PSST permit employees to use PSST when a family member’s school or place of care has been closed and/or when an employee’s place of business (for an employer with 250 or more full-time equivalent employees) has reduced operations or closed for any health or safety reason.