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May 15, 2021

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Sick leave rule among new laws for 2018

New year also sees changes in minimum wage, taxes

By , Columbian politics reporter

The new year brings a host of traditions. Resolutions and the annual rush to the gym among the most notable. But 2018 will also bring new laws. Here’s a look at five new rules taking effect in 2018.

Paid sick leave

Employers in the state will now be required to provide paid sick leave for most employees thanks to Initiative 1433. Employees — including part-time and seasonal workers — will accrue a minimum of one hour of sick leave per 40 hours worked. Any unused leave can also be carried over from year to year, up to 40 hours.

Paid sick leave also can be used to care for family members or when a workplace is closed by a public health official. Children’s school closures for health-related reasons also qualify as do absences covered by the Domestic Violence Leave Act.

Minimum wage increase

Initiative 1433 also instituted minimum wage increases. The hourly rate will increase from $11 to $11.50 next year, which makes Washington’s minimum wage the second highest in the country. Washington, D.C.’s is $12.50 an hour.

The minimum wage will increase in 2019 and 2020, to $12 and $13.50 respectively.

Sales tax collection

Washington’s new marketplace fairness law will require companies like Amazon to collect sales tax for third-party sellers.

Prior to the new law, Amazon collected tax on its own products but stipulated that third-party sellers were responsible for handling sales taxes themselves. Amazon would, however, collect the tax for them for a fee. About half of Amazon’s sales come from third-party sellers, according to Amazon.

Solid waste rates

Locally, garbage, yard debris and recycling rates will increase. The Vancouver City Council authorized an increase in November that takes effect the first of the year.

Residents will see their garbage rates increase by 4 percent, while all other rates will increase 3.6 percent. For example, a customer with a 32-gallon cart pays $20.08 monthly. The new rate is $20.87 a month. Yard debris service will increase from $6.90 a month to $7.15.

These increases add $82,800 to the Solid Waste fund.

Property taxes

The new federal tax bill became law just last week, but the impacts are already causing people to scramble. Perhaps the most evident is the new $10,000 cap on property tax deductions. As a result many were trying to prepay 2018 taxes to take advantage of the existing deduction. In Washington and Oregon, prepayment isn’t possible. Tax payments cannot be accepted until the tax rolls are created in January.