OLYMPIA, Wash. — The start of the new year may mean some changes in company policies regarding vacation or sick time. So, how can you make sure you are getting the proper time off?
A viewer reached out wondering about companies that lump together sick time and vacation time. She wanted to know if that was allowed in Washington state.
In the state of Washington can an employer combine sick days with Paid Time Off?
Yes, we can Verify, that employers in Washington state can legally offer Paid Time Off (PTO) programs. Employers must still follow the state's sick leave laws and be sure their PTO programs include enough time off to meet those requirements.
WHAT WE FOUND
The Washington Administrative Code includes a section on Paid Time Off or PTO Programs.
It defines PTO as a program that “combines vacation leave, sick leave, or other forms of leave into one pool.”
The code states that PTO “satisfies the requirement to provide paid sick leave” as long as it meets several requirements, including:
- The same minimum accrual rate as the state’s sick leave laws
- Washington requires one hour for every 40 hours worked
- Normal hourly compensation for PTO hours
- Carryover of at least forty hours of unused PTO to the following year
The state Department of Labor and Industries adds that employers are required to have a written paid sick leave policy before implementing a program like PTO.
So, we can Verify, Yes, PTO programs that combine vacation and sick time are legal in the state of Washington.
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