Wage and Hour Disputes in Washington State

All states have laws on the books governing how workers must be paid, the minimum amount to which they’re entitled, and laws for breaks and overtime. If you have questions about a wage or hour dispute between you and your employer in Washington State, contact an employment attorney today.

Wage and Hour Laws in Washington State

Wage and hour laws cover minimum wage, overtime and exemptions, breaks and schedules, pay requirements, and more. Both state laws and the federal Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) govern wage and hour laws.

As of January 1, 2015, the minimum wage under Washington state law is $9.47 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage. When state and federal laws are in not in accordance with one another in regard to minimum wage, the wage law that is higher is the wage to which the employer must adhere.

Regarding overtime, the majority of workers who work more than 40 hours in a one-week period must be paid overtime, which is a rate equivalent to one and one-half times the employee’s normal rate. Some employees, though, are not entitled to overtime benefits under Washington State law. These employees include certain agricultural workers, newspaper vendors, seasonal employees, seamen, volunteers and more. The full list can be found on the website of the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

Another commonly asked question about workers’ rights in Washington State deals with breaks and schedules. Under Washington law, all workers are entitled to a rest period of at least 10 minutes for every four hours of work, and the rest period must be paid. A worker must be allowed a 30-minute meal period if working for more than five hours. The meal period does not have to be paid.

Common Wage and Hour Disputes

Despite very clear laws governing the minimum pay to which an employee is entitled, as well as the minimum amount of break and meal times, wage and hour disputes are relatively common. Some common wage and hour disputes include the following.

  • Denying a worker a break or lunch period
  • Misclassifying a contractor or employee
  • Failing to pay an employee overtime
  • Failing to pay an employee the minimum wage
  • Improperly calculating or taking an employee’s tips
  • Working “off the clock” for cash

The laws regarding contractors, regular employees and employees in certain industries are different. However, all employee types are afforded certain rights under the law. When a wage or hour dispute occurs, the employee has the right to file a complaint.

Filing a Wage Complaint in Washington State

Anyone can file a wage or hour complaint with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries if they believe that their rights, or the rights of another, are being violated in the workplace. The complaint report form can be found on the department’s website, and after a complaint has been filed, the department may investigate it.

Unfortunately, filing a complaint is not always enough. Sometimes, the Department of Labor and Industries fails to take action to correct a wage or hour violation in a timely manner. When a worker’s rights have been violated, more speedy action may be necessary. An attorney can help.

A Wage and Hour Dispute Attorney Can Represent Your Rights as a Worker

To learn more about your rights as a worker in Washington State, call us today at 425-259-2222 or contact us online.