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Washington Expands Paid Sick Leave  

Washington recently expanded its paid sick leave law, offering employees more flexibility and support. Here’s what you need to know: 

  • New Reason for Leave: Effective January 1, 2025, employees can use their paid sick leave (PSL) when a local, state, or federal emergency disrupts normal life. This could include situations like natural disasters or public health crises. 
  • Expanded Family Definition: The definition of “family member” now goes beyond just blood relatives. Anyone who regularly lives with the employee and relies on them for care due to their relationship qualifies. This means employees can use PSL to care for these individuals when they need medical attention, diagnosis, or preventive care. 

Of note, an individual who simply resides in the same home with no expectation that the employee cares for the individual doesn’t qualify as a “family member” under the new law.  

Next Steps 

Employers should review and update their policies and procedures to reflect the new reasons for leave, including emergencies declared by local, state, or federal authorities. Additionally, incorporate the expanded definition of “family member” to ensure clarity for employees. 

Employers should also provide training to all human resource personnel and managers/supervisors who manage leave requests. This training should cover the available leave options under the updated law, including the new emergency leave reason and broader family member definition. 

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.