The first paid sick time law of 2015 – and the first since President Obama’s State of the Union address drew attention to the issue – passed the Tacoma City Council by a nearly unanimous 8-1 vote on January 27, 2015. The new law guarantees paid sick time for almost all private-sector employees in Tacoma.
This win in Tacoma comes on the heels of paid sick time victories in the Washington cities of Seattle and SeaTac. The paid sick time law will have a significant impact on Tacoma, where approximately 40,000 workers currently lack paid sick time.
Under Tacoma’s paid sick time law, workers in the city will be able to earn and use up to 24 hours of paid sick time a year for personal or family health issues. In order to qualify, employees must work more than 80 hours in Tacoma within a calendar year. City, state, and federal government workers are not covered by the law.
According to the law, workers can use paid sick time to recover from their own illness, address their own health needs, or to care for family members. The law covers a range of family members: children, parents, grandparents, spouses, and domestic partners (registered under a state or local law) and household members. “Child” is defined as under 18 years of age, or 18 or older but incapable of self-care because of a mental/physical disability.
Workers will begin to accrue paid sick time as of February 1, 2016, when the law goes into effect. Workers are not entitled to begin using their accrued paid sick time until after 180 calendar days of employment with their employer.