Overview of Paid Sick Time Laws in the United States:
Tacoma, WA

Updated on January 18, 2023

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Tacoma, WA
Who is covered? Note: City/county paid sick time laws cannot cover state government workers, and city, county, and state paid sick time laws cannot cover federal government workers. Workers employed in Tacoma are covered, as long as there is a reasonable expectation that they will perform work in Tacoma for more than 80 hours within a benefit year. Independent contractors, single-person businesses, and Federal government workers are exempted.
Can sick time be used to care for loved ones? Yes: children; parents; grandparents; grandchildren; siblings; spouses; and registered domestic partners (local or state registries).
How is “child” defined? Biological, adopted or foster children, stepchildren, legal wards, or a child to whom the worker stands in loco parentis, is a legal guardian, or is a de facto parent, regardless of age or dependency status.
Can sick time be used for specific “safe time” purposes (related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking)? Yes, when the worker or the worker’s family member (for safe time purposes, also includes a parent-in-law or a person with whom the worker has a dating relationship, per Washington State law) is the victim.
Can sick time be used under the law to bond with a new child and/or deal with a family member’s death? Note: It is possible that other laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act or a state equivalent, could provide eligible workers with unpaid leave for these purposes. Paid sick time can be used to deal with a family member’s death.
Can sick time be used when a worker’s place of work or child’s school/place of care is closed by public health officials for a public health emergency? Yes, when either the worker’s place or work or child’s school/place of care is closed by a public health official for any health-related reasons (not only public health emergencies). A health-related reason means a serious public health concern that could result in bodily injury or exposure to an infection agent, biological toxin, or hazardous material, and does not include closures for inclement weather.
Rate at which workers earn paid sick time? 1 hour for every 40 hours worked.
Do workers have different sick time-related rights based on the size of their employer? If so, based on what employer-size threshold(s)? No.
Amount of paid sick time that can be earned under the law per year? (Note: All of these paid sick time laws make it clear that these laws establish a minimum requirement, and employers can provide greater or more generous paid sick time benefits to their workers.) No explicit cap on how much sick time can be earned or used in a year. However, as described below, employers are not required to allow a worker to carry over more than 40 hours of unused paid sick time a year.
When do workers begin to earn paid sick time? At the commencement of employment, but workers aren’t entitled to use paid sick time until the 90th calendar day after employment commenced.
Does unused sick time carry forward to the subsequent year? Workers are entitled to carry forward 40 hours of unused paid sick time to the following benefit year.
Private Right of Action to go to Court? No.
Are there waivers/ exemptions for workers covered by a valid Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)? All or any part of the law doesn’t apply to workers covered by a CBA to the extent that the CBA explicitly waives the requirements in clear and unambiguous terms.
What Agency or Official Enforces the Law? The Finance Director or his or her designee
For the statewide paid sick time laws: can cities in the state pass paid sick time laws that are broader than the state law? N/A
Statutory Citation(s) Tacoma Code § 18.10.010 et seq.
Additional Notes For more information about Tacoma's sick time law, see http://www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/one.aspx?objectId=75860.
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