Washington state legislative session
The 2021 Washington state legislative session is currently in progress. The session is 105 days and will end April 25, 2021. We are currently monitoring the status of the following employment and labor law bills.
General HR Legislation
Allowing whistleblowers to bring actions on behalf of the state for violations of workplace protections.
Establishing health emergency labor standards. This bill would require creation of a workplace infectious disease standard and establish new employment standards during a pandemic (including: presumption for worker’s compensation coverage; accommodate employees’ voluntary use of PPE; protection from retaliation or discrimination; additional reporting requirements; lower the eligibility threshold for paid family and medical leave; provide a higher minimum wage for frontline workers; require additional paid sick leave; require paid childcare leave.)
Concerning the retroactivity of overtime claims in exceptional cases. This bill would limit the retroactive effect of court decisions concerning overtime wage claims when the award would create a substantially inequitable result.
Protecting temporary workers. This bill establishes specific standards for staffing agencies and worksite employers regarding training, assessing hazards, sharing information, and other requirements.
Concerning the protection of construction worker wages and benefits. This bill would make general contractors independently liable for all subcontractor wages even if the general already paid.
This is concerning unemployment insurance. It reduces the social tax rate, suspends the solvency tax through 2025, makes all claims from March 22, 2020, to May 2, 2020, non-charageable to individual employers and increases the weekly minimum benefit from 15% to 20% of the average weekly wage, among other changes.
Concerning qualifications for unemployment insurance when an individual voluntarily leaves work.
Concerning unemployment extended benefits where there is a state of emergency and waves some requirements for waiting periods.
Concerning job search monitoring. Allows the employment security department to adjust job search requirements on an as needed basis.
Strengthening penalty and audit tools for employer violations in unemployment insurance. This bill would make it a violation for any employer to misclassify an individual as an independent contractor even if they believed they were correctly classified.
Concerning workers' compensation claim resolution settlement agreements. This bill will allow settlements to be paid out in a lump sum or a structured basis.
Suspending workers' compensation cost-of-living adjustments for fiscal year 2022, changing the basis of certain future adjustments to the consumer price index, and capping the rate of increase for future adjustments.
Paid Family & Medical Leave