Washington Adds Two Laws to the Workers’ Rights Notice

Washington’s Your Rights as a Worker notice has been updated to include two laws: Paid Family and Medical Leave and Equal Pay Opportunity Act. The notice also includes new details about other workers’ rights.

Information for Employers & Employees

Paid Family and Medical Leave

As we reported in a previous blog about Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave, employee benefits begin January 1, 2020. This insurance program is funded by employee and employer premiums, which began on January 1, 2019.

Employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of leave for the following reasons:

  • To welcome a new child
  • For an employee’s own serious illness or injury
  • To care for an ailing relative
  • For certain military-connected events

For more information on the requirements of Paid Family and Medical Leave, employers and employees may visit the website devoted to the law (paidleave.wa.gov/).

Equal Pay Opportunity Act

Under the Equal Pay Opportunity Act, which went into effect on June 7, 2018, employers are prohibited from providing employees unequal pay or career advancement opportunities based on gender.

In addition, employees have the right to disclose, compare, or discuss their wages or the wages of other employees.

Employers may not take adverse action against employees who discuss wages, file a complaint, or exercise any of their rights under the Act.

A website has been provided where employees may file a complaint or get additional information on the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (https://www.Lni.wa.gov/EqualPay).

Domestic Violence Leave

New information on Domestic Violence Leave has also been added to the Your Rights as a Worker notice.

Aside from allowing victims and their families to take leave from work to get legal or law enforcement assistance, for medical treatment or counseling, to relocate, to protect their safety, or to meet with a crime victim’s advocate, employers must also provide reasonable safety accommodations to victims of domestic violence. One example of a safety accommodation is adding more locks in the workplace.

Additional information on the types of accommodations employers might provide can be found on the Domestic Violence Leave website, which has been added to the notice (www.Lni.wa.gov/DomesticViolenceLeave).

Meal Periods for Workers

The previous notice outlined meal period requirements for “most” workers, who are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid meal period, as long as they work more than 5 hours in a day. The updated notice now includes information for agricultural workers, who are entitled to a second 30-minute unpaid meal period if they work more than 11 hours in a day.

Future Change for Washington Employers

Employers in Washington should note that the Equal Pay Opportunity Act was recently amended to include a salary history ban. Effective 7/28/19, employers may not ask applicants about their salary history before making an offer of employment that includes compensation. Our Research team will be watching for this new requirement to be added to the Your Rights as a Worker notice.

We Can Keep You in Compliance

If you have not already done so, we encourage you to order our 1-Year Compliance Plan, so that you will automatically receive the updated Washington poster as soon as it is available. And because we provide free poster updates for mandatory changes—no matter how many occur during the plan year—youcan always count on Poster Compliance Center to keep your business in compliance.