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Another look at Initiative 1433

    September 15, 2016

    Initiative 1433 has made the ballot. This coming November, the voters of Washington State will decide whether to increase the State’s minimum wage to $13.50 per hour by 2020, and whether to compel employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. If passed, the State’s minimum wage would increase to $11.00 in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12.00 in 2019 and $13.50 in 2020. Thereafter, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries would calculate an increase to the State’s Minimum wage by the annual rate of inflation, using the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers. The price index for urban wage earners would be used statewide, even in rural communities. The Initiative would also, effective January 1, 2018, require every employer provide each employee paid sick leave. Employee would accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every forty hours worked. Employee could use sick leave for their own or a family member’s mental or physical health conditions or to address domestic violence issues. Under the Initiative, unused paid sick leave carries over to the following year, except that an employer is not required to allow an employee to carry over paid sick leave in excess of forty hours. And, an employer is not obligated to pay for accrued and unused paid sick leave to any employee upon the employee’s termination or resignation. While backers of the Initiative argue the law would boost the income of more than 730,000 low-income workers in this State, the Initiative’s opponents claim the proposed law offers a one-size-fits-all approach and could do more harm than good as currently written. For example, the Association of Washington Business warns, the combined impact of the initial minimum wage increase and sick leave requirements, instituted at once, “would be a costly shock wave to small employers”. There is also concern that if passed, some employers, particularly outside of Puget Sound area, would reduce staff, cut employee hours, and raise prices. In particular, there is concern that service-sector jobs could be hard-hit, along with the ag sector and the construction industry. Groups in opposition to the Initiative include the AWB, Washington Restaurant Association, Washington Farm Bureau, Association of General Contractors, Washington Bankers Association, and the Washington Affordable Housing Council. Brian A. Walker helps businesses and individuals in employment, business, and real estate related litigation and transactions from the Wenatchee office of Ogden Murphy Wallace PLLC. You can reach Brian at or at (509) 663-1954.