Information on Initiative 1433: Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave

Initiative 1433, an initiative to the people on the November General Election ballot, is currently passing by a vote of 57.4% to 42.6%. The initiative increases the state minimum wage and mandates that employers provide paid sick leave to employees.

Employers should be aware of two items of particular importance: (1) the state minimum wage will increase to $11.00 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017; and (2) paid sick leave requirements will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Today the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries released the following information about I-1433. Please review this information as it will affect your business.

Based on current vote counts, Initiative 1433 (I-1433) will likely pass. This e-mail provides initial guidance to stakeholders regarding specific provisions of I-1433, and how those provisions may impact employers and employees.
  1. The election results are not official until certification. Certification is scheduled to occur on November 29, 2016. The guidance in this email is contingent on formal certification of I-1433 by the Secretary of State of the State of Washington.
  2. The minimum wage will increase to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2017. This will supersede the rate of $9.53 per hour that the Department announced in September. The minimum wage for workers under 16 years of age – set by regulation at 85% of the state minimum wage (WAC 296-126-020) – will increase to $9.35 per hour.
  3. The minimum wage will increase incrementally over the next four years to $13.50 per hour by January 1, 2020 – $11.00 in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12.00 in 2019, and $13.50 in 2020. Beginning January 1, 2021, and each January 1st thereafter, the minimum wage rate will be adjusted based on the rate of inflation.
  4. On January 1, 2018, each employer in Washington must provide their employees with paid sick leave. Paid sick leave accrues at a minimum rate of one hour of paid sick leave for each forty hours worked as an employee. Unused paid sick leave carries over to the following year, except that an employer is not required to allow an employee to carry over paid sick leave in excess of forty hours. Paid sick leave must be provided at the greater of the newly increased minimum wage or the employee’s regular and normal wage.
  5. Under Section 10 of I-1433, the Department must adopt and implement rules to address the new requirements provided by I-1433, such as providing procedures for notification to employees about their paid sick leave, reporting requirements regarding paid sick leave, and protecting employees from retaliation for the lawful use of paid sick leave or exercising other rights under the Minimum Wage Act. There is no specific timeline for rulemaking, but the Department anticipates finalizing the rules before January 1, 2018 – when the paid sick leave provisions of I-1433 become effective.
  6. For employers and employees in jurisdictions that currently have a higher minimum wage rate (Seattle, Tacoma, and the City of SeaTac), the local minimum wage rates will still apply as long as they are higher than the state minimum wage rate.
The text of I-1433 can be found at the following website address:

Questions?  Please contact Brent DeBeaumont, Wage and Hour Technical Specialist, at 360-902-5552 or

For information on local minimum wage requirements please visit the websites at the links below: