Washington employment attorneys want you to be fairly compensated for the work and time you put into your job. To strengthen the middle-class and prevent employees from being robbed of both time and money, Washington State has updated its overtime-pay rules to protect workers. However, the rules are complex, and there are several exceptions woven into the guidelines. While it’s best to consult an employment attorney about your specific situation, we have examined the basics of overtime pay in Washington for some initial insight.
Who Is Eligible for Overtime Pay in Washington?
Hourly employees working more than 40 hours in a workweek must be paid overtime pay. Employers may mandate overtime work to their employees.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, however:
- Agricultural workers
- Workers who do not meet the definition of employee under Washington’s Minimum Wage Act
- Public employees who accept compensatory time off (Comp Time) in lieu of overtime pay
- Some salaried employees
- Other workers excluded under Washington’s overtime law
- Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses may not be mandated to work overtime
What Qualifies as Overtime Pay in Washington?
Overtime pay in Washington is generally based on a 40 hour work week, not an 8 hour day (except for some public works projects).
An employer may define a workweek as any consecutive 7 days or default to the calendar week of Sunday through Saturday.
Any hours exceeding a 40-hour workweek are required to be paid at 1.5x their hourly rate to eligible employees. The hourly rate must be equal to at least Washington’s state minimum wage.
- Commissions, piece-rates, and non-discretionary bonuses received by the employee must be included in the hourly rate calculations when figuring overtime.
- Tips, reimbursed expenses, [paid time off, and discretionary bonuses are not subject to the overtime rule.
Employees accepting compensatory time in lieu of overtime are due 1.5 hours of time for each hour worked that exceeds a 40-hour workweek. This compensation must be at the request of the employee and not by demand of the employer.
Have You Been Denied Overtime Pay? Who Can Help?
Employees who have been denied wages should hold employers accountable for paying what they owe. Under Washington State law, you are entitled to receive wages promised by your employer and for hours worked, which includes overtime pay.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may elect to file a claim with the Department of Labor and Industries or pursue the help of a qualified Washington employment attorney.
- Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries has the authority to calculate and collect wages on behalf of workers deprived of earned pay.
Under state law, the Department of Labor and Industries may also collect civil penalties from employers who have wilfully withheld employees’ wages.
- If you’ve been denied earned wages and overtime, it’s advised you speak with a skilled employment attorney before taking any other action against an employer.
A Washington employment attorney can file a lawsuit for two times the amount owed to you by your employer if your employer willfully withheld your wages.
Additionally, your attorney may also request an award for attorney’s fees and costs if your lawsuit is successful.
Contact a Washington Employment Lawyer Today
Employers have become skilled at transitioning employees into salaried positions to avoid overtime pay. They are not above manipulating an employee’s lack of legal knowledge regarding overtime eligibility to increase profit margins. While no one wants to believe their employer would intentionally cheat them out of their earnings, it does happen. Contact our office today to discuss your case and your legal options.
If you have an employer who has intentionally withheld pay and benefits that you have earned, we can help. Get in touch with our office today.