Citizens' Guide to Initiative 1433: to increase the state minimum wage and to require paid sick leave

Sep 28, 2016

Download the full Citizens' Guide to Initiative 1433

Key Findings

  1. Initiative 1433 would increase the state’s minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020 and require employers to provide paid sick leave for every worker starting in 2018.

  2. The paid sick leave provisions in Initiative 1433 are more generous and more broadly applied than the limited paid sick leave mandates that officials imposed in the cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane.

  3. There is no accommodation for small business; a business employing two workers would have to give the same amount of paid sick time as businesses with 5,000 workers.

  4. There is no limit to how much paid sick leave a worker could accrue or use each year.

  5. Initiative 1433’s paid sick leave mandate would impose significant costs on the state’s smallest employers, who would be forced not only to pay the wages of the worker using paid sick leave hours, but also the wages of the employees doing the work of those out on sick leave.

  6. The harmful effect of an artificially high minimum wage on low-skill workers was noted by University of Washington researchers studying the initial impacts of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law.

  7. While Seattle’s lowest-wage workers are earning slightly more than they were before the new wage law took effect, they have suffered reduced hours and lower rates of employment. These cutbacks in work hours have largely offset the slight wage gains of some workers.

  8. The UW study found that despite the city’s hot economy, Seattle’s low-wage workers are “lagging behind” their counterparts in other cities with less robust economies.

  9. The UW study warns against assuming a higher statewide minimum wage would have the same modest effects as Seattle’s new wage law, noting the impact could be significantly negative in regions where the local economy is not as strong as Seattle’s. 

This fall, voters will have their say on whether the state’s minimum wage should be increased again, beyond the current $9.47 per hour that automatically increases every January based on inflation. Initiative 1433 would increase the state minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020, with future automatic increases indexed to inflation. 

In addition, the measure would, for the first time, require all employers to provide mandated paid sick leave for every worker starting in 2018.

This Citizens’ Guide summarizes the ballot proposal and describes how the policy changes it requires would alter current law and affect employers, workers and consumers in Washington state. 

Download the full Citizens' Guide to Initiative 1433