New laws affect minimum wage, sick leave

The biggest changes in policy will affect Washington businesses and their employees this year. 2018 will mark some changes to the minimum wage and paid sick leave. 

The changes aren't going to be too drastic in Spokane. The City already implemented a required paid sick leave for hourly employees starting this year. However, local businesses say even though the changes won't be drastic, it's still going to have some affect on prices.

Pizza Rita employees will now earn a little more cash as of Monday. Minimum wage is up 50 cents to $11.50 an hour. 

Employees will also earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. 

But at this company, that's nothing new. Employees have always earned paid sick leave, at the rate of one hour for every 52 hours worked. 

Owner Brian Dickmann says these changes aren't going to be too much of a burden for Pizza Rita. 

The company will be raising delivery prices slightly, but he says that shouldn't come as a surprise. 

"You have to raise it a little bit," said Dickmann. "And i mean, in some of them, if you raise it and your product isn't worth what you raise it to, then people will know it."

Some other businesses though aren't nearly as optimistic. Several other business owners voiced concerns about covering the cost of a minimum wage increase, plus the wages of a sick employee. 

But Dickmann says there's nothing that can be done about it now. 

"It's just the way it is" Dickmann said. "I mean that's what the people voted."

Companies that don't offer the required paid sick leave, could face penalties from the state. 

The state says it will work with companies to make sure they are compliant though before placing those penalties. 

The Department of Labor and Industries has been reaching out to companies to make sure they understand the new changes. 

It has also offered training sessions and tips on implementing those new changes.