House passes first paid sick and safe leave for Washington state

House Floor Debate
House Floor Debate

Today, in a 52-45 vote, the House passed HB 1313, allowing for some paid sick leave for all workers. The prime sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jinkins spoke in favor of its passage on the House Floor, saying,

“Getting sick shouldn’t mean getting fired. You shouldn’t have to choose whether or not to stay home with a sick kid or put food on the table for your family at the end of the week. But that’s what’s happening today. One million Washington workers don’t have paid sick leave.”

HB 1313 not only provides leave for those who are ill, but also for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Victims often need to take time off to recover and attend court hearings to ensure both their safety and their children’s safety. The bill has a tiered system of required leave – less for smaller businesses and more for larger businesses.

Rising in support of the bill, Rep. Roger Freeman, D-Federal Way, spoke of his own cancer diagnosis last year. As the sole income earner in his family Rep. Freeman was terrified that taking time off work to treat his cancer would cause his family to lose their home.  Sick leave allowed him the peace of mind to fight his illness.

Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-27 Aaron Barna
Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-27

Rep. Jinkins also mentioned her concern for small businesses. She asked friend, Judy, who owns The Dish, a restaurant up in Seattle how that city’s paid sick leave law has affected her.  Judy told Rep. Jinkins that the law was easy to implement, low cost, and the right thing to do.

In closing, Rep. Jinkins said, “I’m voting yes for workers, for families, for public health and for strong businesses.”

The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration in the Commerce and Labor Committee.