December 11, 2017
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Paid safe and sick program leave begins Jan. 1

Washington's voter-approved paid safe and sick leave program will take effect on the first of the year. The measure, passed by voters as Initiative 1433, will see the minimum wage increase to $11.50 on Jan. 1.

More significantly, new paid safe and sick leave requirements also go into effect on the first day of the year. The Department of Labor & Industries offered this summary of the law:

  • Paid sick leave must accrue at a minimum rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. This includes part-time and seasonal workers.
  • Paid sick leave must be paid to employees at their normal hourly compensation.
  • Employees are entitled to use accrued paid sick leave beginning on the 90th calendar day after the start of their employment.
  • Unused paid sick leave of 40 hours or less must be carried over to the following year.
  • Employers are allowed to provide employees with more generous carry over and accrual policies.
  • Employees may use paid sick leave:
    • To care for themselves or a family member.
    • When the employees’ workplace or their child's school or place of care has been closed by a public official for any health-related reason.
    • For absences that qualify for leave under the state's Domestic Violence Leave Act.
  • Employers may allow employees to use paid sick leave for additional purposes.

For more information on these and other workplace issues, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles.



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Bridging the Skills Gap


Look to community colleges for diverse tech-industry talent

By Sheila Edwards Lange, president of Seattle Central College

Seattle's technology industry has a diversity problem. While tech companies have publicly committed to changing their hiring practices, people of color and women are still being left out of what feels more and more like an exclusive club.

Only one in five STEM workers identify as black or Latino, and less than 25 percent of STEM jobs are held by women. With equity front and center at the recent Washington STEM Summit, we must do more than talk. We must work together -- and two-year colleges are a natural partner in the effort to achieve this important goal...

It is not hard to see the tremendous potential of teaming up, where colleges such as ours and tech companies work together to create cutting-edge programs that teach the skills they need, in ways that are accessible to diverse students. Working together, we can train more local workers to fill the growing number of great jobs in the technology sector, thousands of which remain unfilled..

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Dams Provide Clean, Green Power


Inslee support for possible dam-breaching 'unfathomable'

By Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch

This issue needs to be decided at the highest level. You can't manage a hydro system this big and this important from the bench. Congress passed the laws that protect endangered species, and it paid for the dams in the first place. It is in the best position to decide whether we take a balanced view, or submit to environmental overkill.

You'd think a governor so concerned with our carbon footprint would be interested in preserving clean power in the Pacific Northwest. There really is no middle ground here, and he ought to know better. What's he saying? Dam breaching is OK if we just take a little from the top?

Read the full news release
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