About Stop Work Orders


This page explains how the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is implementing the 2009 law authorizing stop work orders.

Q. What is a stop work order?

A. A stop work order is a legal notice that requires an employer to immediately stop work or face a fine of $1000 a day. It is issued on an employer who is required to register as a construction contractor or is required to be licensed as an electrical contractor and is working without paying workers’ compensation.

Q. What is the purpose of the stop work order?

A. The purpose of the stop work order is to stop employers from working illegally in Washington State and provide an equal playing field for employers who play by the rules.

Q. How is the stop work order served?

A. A stop work order may be served in two ways:

  • Served on a specific worksite by posting a copy of the stop work order in a conspicuous location. This stops the work on that worksite only.
  • Served on the employer. This stops work on all of the employer’s worksites.

Q. What options are available to an employer once a stop work order is issued?

A. There are four options once the stop work order is posted on the jobsite or served on the employer:

  1. The employer stops working.
  2. or

  3. The employer comes into compliance. The employer can do this by:
    • Paying all premiums, penalties and interest in total. If this is done, the stop work order will be released and the employer may resume working.
    • Making a payment agreement for all premiums, penalties and interest. If this is done, a conditional release is issued and the employer may resume working. If a payment is missed, the stop work order is reinstated and the unpaid balance will become due.
  4. or

  5. The employer asks for reconsideration within 10 days by:
    • Requesting reconsideration and providing cash or bond in the amount of $5,000 or $1,000 per worker (# of workers we have noted on the order), whichever is greater. This amount will be shown on the stop work order. The employer may resume working while the order is being reconsidered.
    • Requesting reconsideration but not paying the cash or posting a bond. In this case, the employer cannot resume working until the reconsideration process is completed.
    • L&I has only 10 days to reconsider the stop work order. If the employer is still not in agreement with the result, the order may be appealed to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.
  6. or

  7. The employer stops work and secures an agreement to have the General Contractor report the covered employees. Work may resume once the General Contractor has filled out the necessary paperwork.


For more information please call 253-596-3834.

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