Washington is the best state for workers, according to a ranking released today by Oxfam America. The organization based its findings on wages, worker protections and workers’ rights in all 50 states and the nation’s capital — and only the District of Columbia had the Evergreen State beat.
The state’s new paid family and medical leave program played an important part in securing Washington’s spot in the Best States to Work Index.
Last year, Washington passed the landmark bipartisan legislation, becoming the fifth state in the nation to get a paid family leave program, which will offer some of the most progressive benefits in the nation. Washington’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program will provide everyone in the workforce with up to 12 weeks of paid medical leave to care for their own serious health condition and up to 12 weeks of paid time off to care for a new child or an ailing family member.
Oxfam, an organization that aims to end poverty, also gave high marks to Washington state for not having a so-called “right to work” law similar to those that have weakened unions in other states. And the organization noted that Washington has rules to ensure equal pay, accommodations for pregnant workers, and sexual harassment protections, as well as laws that prohibit pay secrecy in the workplace.
“Washington state is busting the myth that policymakers have to choose between promoting a strong economy or protecting and supporting our workers,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “We consistently rank as having one of the best economies in the nation, and that’s because businesses thrive when we invest in our people and in making our state a beautiful and healthy place to live.”