We All Deserve a Safe & Healthy Workplace

We All Deserve a Fair & Equitable Workplace

This website is home to the Washington State Workers’ Rights Manual and provides an easy overview of everyone’s Workplace Rights.

COVID-19 Emergency Worker Protections - WA State and Local Laws

WA State – COVID-19 Worker Protection Rules

Washington has new COVID-related laws and regulations protecting workers. The requirements cover the right to have and use masks and PPE, exposure notices to employees, retaliation protections and when employers must report COVID cases to health departments. There are specific rules covering hospital workers, farmworkers, food warehouses/packing operations, and grocery stores. There new protections for workers who need worker’s compensation or unemployment insurance related to COVID. See L&I’s COVID News webpage: https://www.lni.wa.gov/agency/outreach/novel-coronavirus-outbreak-covid-19-resources. The WA Employment Security Dept. (ESD) also has a web page on unemployment rights; https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19. See Chapters 2 and 4 of this Manual for more details.

Added Protection for High-Risk Workers – your employer is required to provide accommodations to you at work that protect you from risk of exposure to COVID-19 if you are a high-risk employee and you request accommodations. These accommodations can include, but are not limited to:

  • telework

  • alternative or remote work locations

  • reassignment

  • social distancing measures

If your employer determines that an alternative work arrangement is not feasible for you, they must permit you to use all your available accrued leave options or unemployment insurance, in any sequence and at your discretion, and they cannot retaliate against you for doing so. If you use up your paid time off, your employer still cannot permanently replace you at work for exercising your rights under this proclamation.

Unemployment Insurance for High Risk Workers – As of April 4, 2021, an unemployed person who has left work voluntarily and is high risk or lives with someone who is high risk is eligible for unemployment benefits in Washington state.

 

Local Areas – New COVID-19 Worker Protection Rules

Hazard Pay for Grocery Workers –  Local governments, including King County, Seattle, Bellingham, Burien, Edmonds, and Olympia have approved emergency rules providing a $4.00 per hour hazard pay boost for many grocery workers. For more info on the King County law, view this summary King County Hazard Pay Ordinance.

Seattle Gig Worker Paid Sick Leave – new temporary law allows some gig workers to take paid leave to care for their own health and safety, or the health and safety of a family member, under some circumstances during the Covid-19 emergency. For more info: https://www.seattle.gov/laborstandards/ordinances/covid-19-gig-worker-protections-/gig-worker-paid-sick-and-safe-time-ordinance?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Seattle Hazard Pay for Food Delivery Gig Workers – Seattle has approved $2.50 premium pay for gig workers delivering food and beverage meals and groceries for the duration of the pandemic. For more info visit Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards.

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Workers’ Rights in the COVID-19 Era - Resources for Workers

COVID-19 Workers’ Rights Webinars – The Labor Center has developed a series of webinars on COVID-related rights and benefits for workers. The Labor Center’s 2020 Covid-19 webinars are permanently available on our YouTube Channel using this link: Labor Center-YouTube-playlist. View recent webinars on:

  • Paid Sick and Family Medical Leave Options
  • Housing Security and the Eviction Moratorium
  • How to sign up for Health Insurance
  • Unemployment
  • Health and Safety at Work

Unemployment Resources/Links

Other COVID-19 Resources

For information on your rights to paid sick leave, paid family medical leave, unemployment and workers’ compensation, use the links to see your Basic Rights #1 and #2 below.

 

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Every year,  thousands of workplace violations go unaddressed.
Use this site to make sure your rights are not being violated. 

Here are your

5 basic rights in Washington

In Washington state, you have five basic rights as a worker. Click on the individual rights below for more information.

1) You have the right to be paid

Your rights to a minimum wage, tips, prevailing wage, overtime, rest breaks and scheduling. What you need to know about termination and unemployment. What to do about wage theft.

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2) You have the right to take care of yourself & your family

Your rights to Sick and Safe Leave, Family, Pregnancy and other Leaves, Workers’ Compensation when injured on the job, and Disability when unable to work.

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3) You have the right to be free of discrimination

Laws that protect workers from discrimination in the workplace, including who is protected and how to file discrimination complaints. How to respond to sexual harassment in the workplace.

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4) You have the right to be safe at work

Your rights to a safe workplace, in the workplace, employer and employee safety responsibilities, how to enforce workplace safety, and workplace safety for undocumented workers.

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5) You have the right to organize

A Voice on the Job Leads to a Better Job. How workers can organize together to improve conditions at work through a union or other organization.

Learn More

Updates

Here are selected sections of the manual that have undergone recent updates.

Overtime and Minimum Wage for Salaried Workers

Overtime and Minimum Wage for Salaried Workers

Washington State is raising the minimum wage and overtime threshhold (salary level) for workers who primarily perform “executive, administrative, and professional” (EAP) duties each year for the next 8 years. You must earn more than the following threshold to be denied overtime pay: if you work for an employer with 50 or less employees, the 2021 overtime salary threshold is $821.40/week ($42,712.80/year). For large businesses (51 or more employees) the 2021 overtime salary threshold is $958.30/week ($49,831.60/year) If you earn less than these thresholds, you are covered by state minimum wage and overtime rules. There are also changes in the thresholds for exempt computer professionals paid by the hour.

Find more information on the Washington State changes here: https://www.lni.wa.gov/workers-rights/wages/overtime/changes-to-overtime-rules

Discrimination Rights Expanded to Include Immigration Status

Citizenship or Immigration Status

Washington’s Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) now bars discrimination based on immigration status as an unfair practice in addition to citizenship. A person or entity may make a distinction or treat someone differently based on citizenship or immigration status only if a state or federal law, regulation, or a government contract requires it. See Chapter 3 for more information.

Minimum Wage Increases for 2021

The Washington statewide minimum wage is $13.69/hour, and Seattle’s minimum hourly wage is $16.69 for large employers and $15.00 to $16.69 at small employers. For more details, see Chapter 1, Your Right to be Paid

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