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MEMBER UPDATE: Paid Leave for Construction workers

We are one week into the new year and already several new laws are relevant for contractors. Here is what you need to know about the first of two key regulations that took effect January 1 and will impact your business. The second regulation is the Cannabis Hiring Law - more information can be found at right under Member Updates.


Paid Sick Leave for Construction Workers

ESSB 5111 passed the legislature last year requiring companies with commercial construction workers to pay out an unused accrued sick time for workers that separate from employment before the 90 day eligibility for use has been met. Intended to help out workers that frequently move between jobs and never get to take advantage of the sick leave benefit, this law could prove to be an administrative nightmare for contractors. Here are the key points you need to know:

  • This law applies to all commercial construction workers and all employees of firms that work under NASIC codes 23 (except Code 2361) This includes administrative staff and non-field personnel.
  • Any accrued but unused sick time must be paid out to an employee if they separate from employment. The requirements apply for both voluntary and involuntary separations from employment. However, it does not apply to workers that have been placed on stand-by for unemployment and have a re-hire date.
  • Each hour of unused paid sick leave must be paid at the worker’s normal hourly compensation.
  • Such workers must be paid their full balance of unused paid sick leave at the end of the established pay period, following separation.
  • If you frontload paid sick leave to your workers, you must pay the balance of the frontloaded paid sick leave following separation, unless you can determine a reasonable alternative amount consistent with accrual requirements.
  • If the worker is rehired, you are not required to reinstate paid sick leave that was paid out after a prior separation. However, you are required to track their time worked for you as it applies to their eligibility to utilize paid sick leave.
  • The 90 days is calculated on calendar days, not working days.

For more information, please see our recorded HR Forum in your Member Info Hub.


For questions or if you need additional information, please feel free to reach out to me directly.


Cheryl Stewart

Executive Director

Inland Northwest AGC | 4935 E. Trent Ave. | Spokane, WA  99212

Kennewick Office | 3321 W. Kennewick Ave., Suite 110 | Kennewick, WA 99336 | Phone: (509) 535-0391 | Mobile: (509) 868-1662


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