What You Need to Know About Washington State Labor Laws


If you’re looking to hire an outside salesperson, you need to know what the Washington state labor laws are before you hire them. The state of Washington has stricter labor laws than federal law, but there are exceptions for employers in Seattle. In addition, you have to comply with stricter requirements for minimum wage and overtime pay than federal law. Below are some of the questions you should ask. The best place to start is with Washington state’s Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws.

Employers in Seattle are exempt from Washington state labor laws

According to the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (DOLI), employers are exempt from many state labor laws if the employees they hire perform primarily non-manual work. This is true even for employees who do not work more than 40 hours per week. The proposed changes would apply to employers of any size and industry. Washington state labor laws require employers to pay exempt employees a minimum salary and ensure that they are performing their jobs within the legal definition of “exempt.”

For employers in Seattle, this means that most employees – hourly non-exempt, salaried exempts, and occasional workers – are covered under the PSST Ordinance. However, this ordinance also covers some employees who are not exempt. Payroll taxes under the PSST Ordinance must be withheld from the paychecks of non-exempt employees. Additionally, the ordinance requires employers to pay all employees on a regularly scheduled payday. However, employers in Washington can also choose to pay employees on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.

Minimum wage

The minimum wage in Washington state hasn’t changed much in over a century, but there are changes afoot. Legislation introduced in March 2022 by Senator Drew MacEwen makes it easier for workers to get a raise. It would count health benefits, too. Meanwhile, the Washington State Labor Council and AFL-CIO are pushing for increased paid sick leave for workers. Under this measure, employees earn one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Workers can carry over forty hours of sick leave to the following year.

The minimum wage in Washington is based on a comparison of CPI-W indexes in September. In 2021, the index rose 5.83 percent. This means that employers in Washington must adjust salaries for employees earning at or close to the minimum wage. Those in salary-exempt positions will need to make at least a minimum salary multiplier of the minimum wage to qualify for overtime. In 2022, employers will have to raise salaries for all employees earning at or near the minimum wage. However, some employers may opt to reduce salary levels to keep up with the minimum wage.


Overtime is a right that most employees must receive when working over forty hours in a seven-day work week. Under state labor laws, overtime pay must equal at least 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. Overtime is not required for public works projects, but employers must pay eligible workers regardless of size. While employers may mandate overtime, it’s not allowed for some employees. For instance, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses are exempt from overtime. However, collective bargaining agreements may provide for more generous overtime pay than Washington state labor laws.

Overtime laws protect hourly workers in certain industries from the exploitation of their labor. In certain industries, mandatory overtime is harmful to employees’ health and safety. Employees can seek an investigation by the L&I if they believe they’ve been unfairly forced to work overtime. For example, if a health care facility requires workers to work overtime, it may be a violation of the law. This is one reason why employers often refuse to comply with overtime laws.

Posting of the salary range

Employers in Washington state will have to post salary ranges for all positions in their job descriptions by law, according to an amendment signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee. The new law applies to businesses with 15 or more employees. Companies may also have to disclose a general description of benefits and compensation to applicants. This is a step in the right direction for equal pay and fair hiring practices.

While it is a step in the right direction, this new law could also deter companies from hiring remote workers. Currently, Washington law does not require employers to post salary ranges, but it has been passed by the state’s upper chamber and governor. This law will go into effect in January 2023. However, some employers may not be willing to disclose the salary range because it may discourage remote workers from applying.

Requirements for terminating employees

While many employers may not give notice before letting go of an employee, the right to terminate an employee is not completely removed. There are requirements for termination based on certain factors, including marital status, age, disability, and more. An employee must be given enough notice in writing and have a chance to cure any lapses in performance, but employers can always fire an employee for just cause.

As an employer, you must be aware of the Washington state labor laws. These laws restrict the methods of firing employees and the reasons for which it’s okay. While firing an employee is never a pleasant experience, it can be necessary to protect your employees. You must follow these laws carefully so that you don’t violate the rights of your employees. In addition, you should avoid retaliation if you have to fire an employee for making a legal request.

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