Washington State Paid Sick Leave for Commissioned Employees

Posted by Alesha Struthers Aug 04, 2021

Washington state paid sick leave was reformed in 2018. Employers are required to provide all of their employees with paid sick leave. Because Washington employers have many questions regarding the Washington Paid Sick Leave law, the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers created a blog series to answer common questions. This is the fourth post in our series.

  • Our first post discussed the employer's requirements according to the law.
  • Our second post discussed whether employees may cash out their sick leave.
  • Our third post discussed when employees may use their sick leave.

In this post, you will learn more about the requirements of Washington state's paid sick leave law for commissioned employees.

This blog post is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not and should not be used as a substitution for legal advice for your business. For specific advice related to your business and the Washington state paid sick leave, other employment law matters, or HR matters, schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers now.

Sick Leave in Washington State

Sick leave in Washington state must be provided to all employees regardless of whether the employee is part-time, full-time, seasonal, or a temporary worker. RCW 49.46.200 states that employers must provide reasonable sick to take care of themselves as well as for their families. RCW 49.46.210 defines “reasonable sick leave” as allowing employees to “accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every forty hours worked as an employee.”

Additionally, employers are required to pay employees who take their sick leave at their usual hourly rate. Yet, not all businesses have hourly employees. Some have commissioned employees. Because of this, discussing sick leave in Washington state as it pertains to commissioned employees is an important topic.

What Is a Commissioned Employee?

A commissioned employee is an employee who is not hourly. They are paid based usually based on their sales. Generally, a commissioned employee is a salesperson. For example, a car lot may decide that they only pay their sales team on a commission basis.

Does Paid Sick Leave Apply to Exempt Employees in Washington State?

Yes, paid sick leave does apply to exempt employees. However, a commissioned employee may or may not be considered an exempt employee under both state and federal law. To determine whether your commissioned employee may be considered exempt according to the Fair Labor Standards Act, Washington state law, and local ordinances, schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers.

As for commissioned employees, paid sick leave still applies. It does become a little more complicated for businesses because the onus is on you as an employer to determine an applicable and appropriate hourly rate to cover their pay when they take time off. Additionally, if your commissioned employees are not considered exempt, they are eligible for compensation for their lost commissions. If they are exempt, they would not be eligible for their lost commissions, but you would be required to pay them for the hours they took off while they were sick as long as they had accrued time to cover it.

Washington State Paid Sick Leave Law: What If Your Business Is Located in Seattle?

If your business is located in Seattle, your business must follow Seattle's ordinances related to sick leave. If your employees who receive commission are eligible for overtime, they receive their hourly rate and they are also eligible to receive their lost commissions. However, lost commissions are not available for exempt commission-based employees. They are only paid the hourly rate determined for their sick leave.  

Free Consult for Employers: Learn More about Washington State Paid Sick Leave for Commissioned Employees

Need to learn more about Washington state paid sick leave for commissioned employees? The Law Offices of Alesha Struthers provides free consultations to employers in Washington. To schedule your free consultation to learn more about the paid sick leave law, employment law matters, or HR matters for your business, click here!

Disclaimer: This publication is not legal advice. It is intended as legal information only. For legal advice specific to your needs, contact the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers, PS at 800-972-0411.

Posted August 2021.