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Washington: Stay Home Proclamation Due to COVID-19

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has issued a Stay Home – Stay Healthy Proclamation that restricts certain social and recreational activities, closes non-essential businesses, and requires social distancing at essential businesses. Under the Proclamation, starting at 12:00 a.m. on March 25, 2020, all non-essential businesses in Washington must close. The Proclamation remains in place until at least April 6, 2020.

Washington Issues Stay Home – Stay Healthy Order, Strictly Limiting Business Operations Effective March 25, 2020

On March 23, 2020, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed the Stay Home – Stay Healthy Order (Proclamation 20-25, the “Order,” linked here) directing Washingtonians to shelter in place. The Order follows similar state and local directives throughout the nation put in place to address the coronavirus crisis. With over 100 dead from COVID-19-related causes in Washington State as of the date of the Order, the Order seeks to slow further transmission of the virus and protect the capacity of businesses deemed essential in the State of Washington.

Seattle Expands Its Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance in Response to COVID-19

Effective March 18, 2020, the Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance allows eligible employees working in Seattle to use PSST when their family member’s school or place of care is closed, regardless of whether such closure is made by a public official.

Washington State Radically Increases Minimum Salary, Fee and Hourly Rates for White Collar Overtime Exemptions

On December 11, 2019, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries announced its final rule amending Washington State’s white collar overtime exemption regulations. If not overridden by the Legislature or successfully challenged in court, the rule will radically increase the pay rates necessary to qualify for the white collar exemptions in Washington State.

Seattle Creates Minimum Wage For Gig Economy Drivers

Seattle just joined New York City as one of the few locations in the country to pass minimum wage legislation for ride-share drivers, the city’s latest attempt to regulate the gig economy. Under the “Fair Share” program pushed by Mayor Jenny Durkan and unanimously approved by the City Council on November 25, a new tax of 51 cents per ride will be levied to fund affordable housing programs and other civic projects, as well as help pay for the $16 per hour minimum wage and various other workplace protections.

Disclosure of State Employees’ Birthdates Not Protected Per Washington Supreme Court

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled recently that state employees’ birthdates associated with their names are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to a freedom of information records request. In so holding, the Court strictly construed the applicable statute that did not expressly exempt birthdates from disclosure. Wash. Pub. Emps. Assn. v. State Ctr for Childhood Deafness & Hearing Loss. Private and public entities across the country that respond to countless requests for information may want to rethink their approach.

Washington Supreme Court Approves Trucking Industry Piece-Rate Compensation Practices

Last year, the Washington Supreme Court considered the following certified question: “Does the Washington Minimum Wage Act require non-agricultural employers to pay their piece-rate employees per hour for time spent performing activities outside of piece-rate work?” On September 5, 2019, the court answered with a resounding no.

Airline Alert: U.S. District Court Rules in Favor of Airline Flight Crew Employees on Paid Sick Leave Challenge

Executive Summary: On October 11, 2019, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that Washington state’s paid sick leave law does not violate the Constitution or federal preemption law, thereby guaranteeing sick leave benefits for airline flight crew employees based in Washington.

Washington Employers Must Provide Break Time and Space for Employees to Express Breast Milk

As of July 28, 2019, Washington employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide reasonable break time for employees to express breast milk. (See House Bill 1930 and Revised Code of Washington 43.10.005.) Break time must be provided each time the employee needs to express breast milk, and must be provided for up to two years after the child’s birth. If the employer has space in its business or worksite, it must also provide a private location, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express milk; if no private space is available, the employer must work with the employee to find a convenient location and work schedule to accommodate her needs.

Non-Agricultural Employers May Use Workweek Averaging to Satisfy State Minimum Wage Obligations in Washington

On September 5, 2019, the Washington Supreme Court confirmed that non-agricultural employers may use a workweek averaging methodology to satisfy the Washington Minimum Wage Act in Valerie Sampson et al v. Knight Transportation Inc. et al. In other words, non-agricultural employers can satisfy their state minimum wage obligations by showing that an employee’s total wages for a workweek, when divided by the total hours worked during that week, results in a figure that is equal to or greater than the state minimum wage.
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