Washington Wage and Hour Laws
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed December 06, 2018
Most Washington employers are subject to both federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws. The effect of this dual coverage is that the employer must follow the higher standard, meaning the one most beneficial to the employee, when there are differing requirements in the laws.
Here, we will focus on Washington state law including pay day requirements (frequency and manner), minimum wages and overtime pay.
Pay Day Requirements: How Often
Washington employers must pay their hourly employees at least once a month.
Method of Payment
An employer may pay wages by cash, check, direct deposit or prepaid payroll card so long as the employee consents and without any fees or costs to the employee.
What is the Minimum Wage in Washington?
The minimum wage for employees in Washington is $11.50 per hour.
When is an Employee Entitled to Overtime Pay?
Most Washington state workers who are paid an hourly wage and work more than 40 hours in a 7-day work week must be paid overtime. When paying overtime, a business must pay at least one and one-half times the worker’s regular hourly rate.
Is there a Penalty for Failing to Follow Pay Day Laws?
Yes. Failure to pay the legal minimum wage and other violations may result in payment of back wages and civil or criminal action where warranted.
1) Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (Federal)
2) RCW 49.46.020 et. seq
|Pay Day Requirements||
Employees must be paid on a regular schedule at least once a month.
|Method of Payment||
Cash, Check and Direct Deposit or Payroll Debit Card.
Hourly Employees: $11.50 per hour, applies to workers in both agriculture and non-agricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85% of the minimum wage ($9.78).
Tipped Employees: Businesses may not use tips as credit toward minimum wages owed to a worker.
Most workers who are paid an hourly wage and work more than 40 hours in a 7-day work week must be paid overtime. When paying overtime, a business must pay at least one and one-half times the worker’s regular hourly rate.
|Examples of Workers Not Covered Under State Overtime Laws||
***Workers not covered under Washington's overtime laws may still be entitled to protection under federal law***
If more than 5 hours are worked in a shift workers must be allowed at least a 30-minute meal period. Workers must be at least 2 (two) hours into the shift before the meal time can start. The meal time cannot start more than 5 hours after the beginning of the shift.
|How to File a Complaint||
File a complaint online or call 1-866-219-7321
Please be aware that state employment laws are constantly changing.
Learn How Washington Wage and Hour Laws Affect You by Speaking to a Lawyer
It's important that your employer observes all applicable employment laws. After all, these laws are in place to protect the worker from being taken advantage of by an employer. If you have questions about wage and hour laws in Washington, it's best to contact a local employment law attorney who can explain the effects that these laws have on your specific situation.
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