All WA State Employers Are Required to Provide Paid Sick Leave – Effective January 1, 2018

On November 8, 2016, Washington voters passed Initiative 1433. The Initiative's intent was to establish fair labor standards and protect the rights of workers by increasing the minimum wage and to balance the needs of the workplace and families by promoting public health, family stability, and economic security. You should already be complying with the minimum wage increase that went into effect early this year, but starting on January 1, 2018 all employers are required to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Are you ready?

1433 allows for the use of paid sick leave as follows:

  • Employees may use paid sick leave to care for themselves or a family member.
  • An employee may use paid sick leave when the employee's work or the employee's child's school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official for any health-related reason.
  • An employee may use paid sick leave for absences that qualify for leave under the state's Domestic Violence Leave Act.

However, employers are not prevented from allowing employees to use paid sick leave for additional purposes.

At a minimum, each employee shall accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. The accrued paid sick leave must be made available for use by the employee beginning on the 90th calendar day after the start of employment. Any unused paid sick leave equaling 40 hours or less must be carried over to the following year.

These minimum standards must be met, but employers can also provide more generous accrual and carry over policies that best fit within their business.

2017 WA State Legislation SB 5244 - Specifies the means of communication between a buyer/lessee and dealer during the bushing period.

Bushing is the four-day period that occurs after the buyer or lessee signs a sales or lease contract for financing of a motor vehicle. The dealer is required to inform the buyer or lessee that they accept or reject the terms of the sales or lease contract within this four-day period.

This bill identifies the ways in which an auto dealer may inform a buyer or lessee during the bushing period of the acceptance or rejection of the contract or lease agreement. They include:

  • an email message to the buyer's or lessee's supplied email address;
  • a phone call;
  • a voice message or a text message to a phone number provided by the buyer or lessee;
  • in-person oral communication;
  • a letter by first-class mail if the buyer or lessee expresses that as a preference or does not provide an email and a phone number able to receive free text messages; or
  • by another means agreed to by the buyer or lessee or approved by the Department of Licensing.

This bill goes into effect on July 23, 2017.

2017 WA State Legislation HB 1722 - Eliminating wholesale vehicle dealer licensing.

The wholesale vehicle dealer license is phased out over a two-year period:

  • Effective July 1, 2017, the DOL will not issue any new wholesale vehicle dealer licenses.
  • Effective July 1, 2018, the DOL may not renew any wholesale vehicle dealer licenses.
  • Effective July 1, 2019, the wholesale vehicle dealer license category and all references to wholesale vehicle dealers are removed from law.

What prompted the elimination of the wholesale vehicle dealer license? The DOL has received numerous complaints from other states' law enforcement agencies, as well as federal law enforcement agencies, about different investigations of people who are suspected of criminal activity and who have a Washington wholesale vehicle dealer license or are connected to a vehicle with a Washington wholesale vehicle dealer plate. There are reportedly criminal investigations ongoing in states including Iowa, Wyoming, Colorado, and Illinois. The DOL generally lacks jurisdiction when illegal activity is happening out of state.

FTC Finalizes Changes to the Used Car Rule Effective January 27, 2017

The FTC’s Used Car Rule has been in place since 1985 and it requires Dealers to post a Buyers Guide on the cars that are for sale. The Buyers Guide discloses whether the dealer is offering to sell a used car “as is” or with a warranty. If the sale is with a warranty, the Buyers Guide discloses the warranty’s terms and conditions, including the duration of coverage, the percentage of total repair costs the dealer will pay, and the vehicle systems that the warranty covers.

Back in 2012, the FTC began their systematic review of the Used Car Rule and sought public comments regarding the usefulness of the Rule. In response to the public comments that they received combined with their internal review, the FTC approved final changes to the Buyers Guide effective January 27, 2017.

The FTC is revising the Buyers Guide by:

  • changing the description of an “As Is” sale;
  • placing boxes on the face of the Buyers Guide that dealers can check to indicate whether a vehicle is covered by a third-party warranty and whether a service contract may be available;
  • providing a box that dealers can check to indicate that an unexpired manufacturer’s warranty applies;
  • adding air bags and catalytic converters to the Buyers Guide’s list of major defects that may occur in used vehicles;
  • adding a statement that directs consumers to obtain a vehicle history report and to check for open recalls;
  • adding a statement, in Spanish, to the English-language Buyers Guide advising Spanish-speaking consumers to ask for the Buyers Guide in Spanish if the dealer is conducting the sale in Spanish; and
  • providing a Spanish translation of the statement that dealers may use to obtain a consumer’s acknowledgement of receipt of the Buyers Guide.

The amended Rule will permit Dealers to use their remaining stock of Buyers Guides up to one year after the effective date.

To obtain the new Buyers Guide, you may download it in pdf format here: FTC's Buyers Guide

New Hull Identification Number Format Effective January 1, 2017

For Dealer customers or vessels in Dealer inventory: On January 1, 2017 the Washington State Department of Licensing was required to comply with Coast Guard regulations that requires all state titled vessels to have a 12-character hull identification number (HIN) that conforms to the federal standards.

On March 24, 2017 the Department of Licensing mailed a notice to approximately 19,000 vessel owners affected by the new federal regulations regarding a standard 12-digit HIN format and how it affects vessel owners. The letter advises these vessel owners that they will need to go to a vehicle licensing office and apply for a new vessel title. A new HIN will be issued.

If you have any questions please contact your local vehicle licensing office.