In May 2019, Washington State enacted restrictions on the enforceability of noncompetition covenants. The law, which took effect on January 1, 2020, requires the state to annually adjust the income thresholds for workers who are subject to noncompetition covenants.
In 2021, Washington established a long-term care benefit program for Washington workers called the WA Cares Fund. In short, the program implements a mandatory 0.58 percent payroll deduction on employee wages to create a state trust fund, which, beginning in 2025, will be used to fund certain long-term care costs for eligible Washington workers. Each eligible Washington worker is entitled to a lifetime benefit of up to $36,500, which will be adjusted annually for inflation. The regulatory scheme implementing the program is still being developed, and we will update the below information on our Washington blog about the program as the regulatory rules are finalized and implemented.
On January 25, 2021, the Seattle City Council approved Council Bill 119990 (also referred to as the “hazard pay ordinance”), which establishes $4 per hour COVID-19 hazard pay for grocery employees working in the City of Seattle. Below is a chart summarizing the key provisions of the hazard pay ordinance.
In May 2019, Washington enacted restrictions on noncompetition covenants, which we wrote about in our article, “Washington State Governor Signs Legislation Restricting Noncompetition Covenants,” and which took effect on January 1, 2020.
On May 4, 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-25.3, extending Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation, which was set to expire on May 4, 2020, to May 31, 2020. The governor’s office also released Washington’s Safe Start plan, detailing a four-phase approach to reopen the state in three-week intervals, which may be adjusted depending on various risk indicators.
Washington State recently issued new protections for workers who are at “high risk” of severe illness or death from COVID-19. The protections, created by Governor Jay Inslee’s Proclamation 20-46, affect both essential businesses and nonessential businesses expecting to reopen between April 13 and June 12, 2020, when the emergency proclamation expires, unless it is lawfully extended in accordance with Washington’s emergency powers laws.
On March 23, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-25 directing all residents immediately to heed current state public health directives to stay home. According to the proclamation, “[a]ll people in Washington State shall immediately cease leaving their home or place of residence except: (1) to conduct or participate in essential activities, and/or (2) for employment in essential business services.”
New legislation recently introduced in the Washington State Legislature seeks to implement a 32-hour workweek for nonexempt Washington-based workers.
On May 8, 2019, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed new restrictions on noncompetition covenants for Washington employees. The new restrictions are effective January 1, 2020.
On May 9, 2019, Washington State governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1696, “an act relating to wage and salary information.” The new law is similar to legislation being promulgated throughout the country, including by Washington’s neighbor to the south, Oregon. This law will become effective on July 28, 2019.
After several years of failed attempts, the state of Washington passed a law on April 17, 2019 that will significantly limit the enforceability of noncompetition agreements under Washington law. Governor Jay Inslee has not yet signed the act into law, but it is expected that Governor Inslee will promptly do so.
On June 12, 2018, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order that directs Washington agencies to favor government contractors that do not require employees to submit to individual arbitration of claims.
Washington recently passed a law limiting discovery of medical records and other medical information for discrimination claims brought under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). The law went into effect on June 7, 2018.
In response to the #MeToo movement, lawmakers in several states are introducing bills aimed at curbing workplace sexual harassment and addressing how complaints and resolutions are handled by employers. Washington is no exception, and the Washington state Legislature has passed three bills focused on new laws relating to sexual harassment.
The City of Spokane, Washington, recently enacted Ordinance No. C-35564, making Spokane the second municipality (joining Seattle) in Washington state to “ban the box.”