Employment Law

SB 5368 / HB 1137 Expanding access to Return-to-Work through off-site light duty options at nonprofits – Bringing injured workers back to work by offering light duty positions contributes to worker financial stability and overall well-being, including mental health. Light-duty offerings are limited to employers of injury in Washington State. Yet, injured workers in 45 states nationally can access light-duty opportunities at nonprofits with measurable results that benefit workers, employers, and nonprofits.

To support workers and small businesses, WR initiated this bi-partisan bill to expand access to light-duty at nonprofits for injured workers during their temporary disability.

HB 1905 / SB 5894 Add protected class to Equal Pay Act – These bills will add a variety of protected classes to the Equal Pay Act with access to filing complaints with Labor and Industries or civil actions.

WR testified to support the proposal’s intent but has concerns regarding the broad and vague “protected class” definition. We suggested using Oregon’s protected class definition under their Equal Pay Act and requested time for rulemaking to clarify the definition and to provide time for education. WR is pleased that Labor and Industries also made similar requests to delay the effective date to 7/1/2025 to provide time for rulemaking and education.

HB 1959 Extending Paid Family Medical Leave premium responsibility to employers with 50 or fewer employees – This bill removes the exemption allowing employers with fewer than 50 employees not to pay any portion of the Paid Family and Medical Leave premium, thereby requiring those employers to pay at least 55 percent of the medical leave share of the premium. WR opposes this bill because it will break the agreement on Paid Leave between businesses and labor, especially when the premium has lowered in 2024.