Washington May Extends Overtime Rules To Thousands Of Previously Exempt Workers

Isaiah McDaniel bags groceries into a customer's cloth bags at PCC Natural Market Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008, in Seattle. CREDIT: ELAINE THOMPSON/AP
Isaiah McDaniel bags groceries into a customer's cloth bags at PCC Natural Market Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008, in Seattle. CREDIT: ELAINE THOMPSON/AP

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A sweeping proposal by the state Department of Labor and Industries could grant overtime pay to thousands more workers in Washington.

Currently, workers are guaranteed overtime pay if their salary is under $24,000 a year. The proposal would gradually raise that threshold to about $80,000 by 2026.

“We actually have not updated these particular rules since the 1970s. And over time a number of good, hard-working Washingtonians have lost some of these protections that we think are a critical element of the minimum wage act,” said Joel Sacks, the director of L&I.

But there’s concern in the business community. The Association of Washington Business calls it a “super minimum wage” that some businesses can’t afford.

L&I is accepting public comments until September and won’t make the rules final until then.

From the Associated Press:

“Under the proposal, employers with 50 or fewer employees would have to pay overtime to workers who are making less than $675 a week – or about $35,000 a year – starting July 1, 2020. For larger companies, workers earning less than $49,000 a year can be paid time-and-a-half pay when they exceed 40 hours a week. In 2020, the total number of employees affected would be about 77,000, growing to about 252,000 by 2026, when the overtime-exempt threshold for all employees in the state reaches $1,536 a week, or nearly $80,000 a year.”

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