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Washington State Agency Finalizes Propose Rule Includes New OverTime Pay Rule for Workers

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Washington State Agency Finalizes Propose Rule Includes New OverTime Pay Rule for Workers

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries proposed a rule under which over 250,000 workers of the state will be applicable for overtime pay (OT) by 2026.

The Washington state agency officially filed the proposed rule; the new rule would increase the salary threshold of the workers by threefold, and this rule enables employers to pay overtime amount to their employees. Washington’s minimum wage percentage currently at $12.50, now with this new OT rule, the percentage of the state’s minimum wage will increase to $13.50 per hour in 2020. The higher salary threshold will be determined by the percentage of the state’s minimum wage.

The overtime-exempt threshold under this rule will increase annually, and the new rule will commence from 1st July 2020, depending upon the company size the overtime-exempt threshold may vary until 2026, by this time all the companies will have a similar threshold.

The Association of Washington Business on Wednesday criticized the new rule by saying ‘super minimum wage’; however, it was appreciated by the Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee saying ‘long-overdue update.’

The new OT rule will be staged in 2020 only if it’s modified at the upcoming public comment period.

Department of Labor and Industries Director, Joel Sacks- proposing the rules stated that the overtime threshold exemption would grow steadily between 1st July 2020 and 1 January 2026 and employees with more than or equal to 51 workers will notice faster growth than those with small workforces. Meaning thousands of white-collar protections will obtain ‘basic labor protections.’

Further Joel Sacks mentioned “We are not telling how much employers must pay. We’re saying employees must be paid a certain amount and perform certain tasks to be exempt.”

AWB President, Kris Johnson responded to the proposed rule, minutes after introducing that the rule goes too far and have unplanned risks implications.

Johnson in a news release, if the rule is adopted then a new super minimum wage will be created, the entire business of the state will be affected and even those businesses that don’t hire exempt workers.

Governor Inslee had ordered the department to upgrade the overtime rules and said the rule would allow workers to receive fair compensation if they work for more than 40 hours a week.

Washington States Current Overtime Rule

The existing overtime rule was introduced in 1976, during which the minimum state wage was around $2.30 per hour, and the overtime exemption started at $250 per week or yearly at $13,000. During this period, nearly 60 percent of the white-collar workers were applicable for overtime pay.

Currently, the State rules are replaced by federal law; it has determined the exemption threshold to $23,660 annually. But this threshold is less than the existing state minimum wage that is around $24,960.

Joel Sacks stated the existing system is outdated, and we want to ensure that people who genuinely deserve overtime are paid for the extra hour they work.

Department to Hold Hearings

As a part of the rulemaking process that consists of public hearings throughout the state, it is believed the new OT rule will be passed by the end of 2019, the state agency mentioned.

The State agency will organize three sets of hearings in July at Western Washington and another three in August at Eastern Washington. The hearing is held to create public awareness of the new proposed rule and to get public comments. The hearing will start on August 7th at 10 a.m. in Spokane region at the CenterPlace Regional Event Center.

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