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Washington state expands overtime pay for white collar workers

For the first time in a decade and a half, certain white collar workers in Washington state will be eligible for overtime pay, based on new rules announced by the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

The rules, which are part of an eight-year plan to compensate workers for all of the hours they work, establish new criteria for certain workers to be considered exempt from getting overtime pay and other protections under Washington’s State Minimum Wage Act.

On July 1, executive, administrative, and professional workers, plus outside salespeople and computer professionals who earn $35,100 per year became eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay for every hour worked over 40 hours weekly. In six months, the threshold will jump to about $43,000 for workers at smaller employers and about $50,000 for those at larger companies.

The annual pay threshold will increase each year to an estimated $83,356 per year in 2028 (see table below), when nearly 260,000 Washington workers are estimated to become eligible for overtime.

Image credit: Washington Department of Labor & Industries.

However, most salaried workers won’t be impacted by the rules this year because Washington employers will continue to follow the federal standard for the rest of 2020. That’s because the federal requirement that a salaried worker needs to earn at $35,568 a year to be exempt from overtime is still slightly more favorable to employees than the new state threshold that went into effect at the start of July.

L&I has created several tools including an online course that explain the rules changes and help workers determine if they are eligible for overtime pay.

Emery Reddy helps workers. Call us if you have an L&I, unfair pay practices, workers’ comp, injury, or other employment law claim. You won’t get better advice.

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