The new year brings a state wage increase and paid sick leave for all employees

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YAKIMA Wash. -- The minimum wage in Washington will go up once again and all employees will be able to receive paid sick leave by the beginning of next year.

But what does this mean for business owners?

Initiative 1433, which was approved by voters in 2016 states the minimum wage will increase over the next several years, and that all employers in Washington will be required to provide their employees with paid sick leave starting January 1st of 2018.

Owner of Xochimilco Florencio Daniel Flores says right now his employees do not receive paid sick leave.

He says the new law will affect his business because he will not only have to put money aside for the wage increase, which will be $11.50 by next year, but also for the sick days his employees request.

“Every hour that you pay them then you also have to consider that you have to put some money aside for whenever they’re sick so it’s going to be a little bit of a challenge but it’s a benefit for the employees," said Flores.

According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries employees will receive paid sick leave at a minimum rate of 1 hour for every 40 hours worked.

This will include part – time workers and seasonal workers.

Employees will be able to use paid sick leave to care for themselves or family members, if the workplace or their child’s school is shut down for any health related reasons and for any absence under the Domestic Violence Leave Act.

Secretary of the Yakima Hispanics Chamber of Commerce Luz Gutierrez says it’s important for all employers to inform themselves about these changes now, so that it can be an easy adjustment for their business later.

“They just see it as another burdensome change happening, when in reality you sort of have to ease into these kinds of regulations," said Gutierrez.

The state law will also protect employees from retaliation when exercising their rights, and it will ensure that tips and service charges are given to the appropriate staff.

If you want more information on paid sick leave click here.

If you want more information on the wage increase click here.

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