L&I seeks input on draft changes to overtime rules

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Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries has released preliminary draft rules that spell out possible changes for salaried workers in the state. Changes to these rules will mean more employees will be entitled to overtime, minimum wage and paid sick leave.

One of the key changes updates the minimum pay allowed to consider a salaried worker exempt from overtime in Washington. It’s been more than 40 years since this figure has been updated in our state. Salaried employees earning less than the salary threshold are required by law to receive overtime, minimum wage, paid sick leave and other protections of the Minimum Wage Act.

“A strong economy goes hand-in-hand with a strong and well-supported workforce,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Updating and modernizing this decades-old rule is necessary as people who work extra hours should be paid for their labor.”

Under this proposal, L&I is considering increasing the salary threshold to between 2 and 2.5 times minimum wage starting Jan. 1, 2020. As part of the proposal, L&I is looking for feedback on whether the higher salary threshold should be phased in based on employer size or geographic location.

Other possible changes to the rules include aligning the state and federal job duties tests, which are used to determine if an employee who is salaried is exempt from overtime.

The proposed changes are a result of early discussions and input L&I has received from business and labor representatives over the last six months. L&I also took input from the public on an earlier proposal at feedback sessions held in October in Tumwater, Everett, Richland and Spokane.

Employers and workers are encouraged to attend an upcoming L&I feedback session to learn more and provide input:

  • Seattle, Nov. 27, 10 a.m., The Swedish Club, Stockholm Room
  • Yakima, Nov. 28, 10 a.m., Hilton Garden Inn, Rainier Room
  • Vancouver, Nov. 29, 10 a.m., L&I Vancouver office

Input on the latest draft proposal will also be accepted online and by email through December 14. Feedback from the public will help L&I develop the official draft rules, which will be released when the formal rulemaking process begins in early 2019. The process will include public hearings where people can provide on-the-record comments.

There’s more information online about the overtime rules process at www.Lni.wa.gov/OvertimeRulemaking. People can also sign up for updates through L&I’s Employment Standards’ listserv.

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