News | Communication Services, 360-902-5400 - PublicAffairs@Lni.wa.gov

L&I receives thousands of comments on proposed overtime rules update

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Sept. 23, 2019 #19-022

Tumwater – The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has received thousands of public comments about the agency's proposed update to the state's overtime rules.

The comment period for the proposal wrapped up Friday, Sept. 20. L&I took public input for more than three months after announcing the proposal in early June. The agency is now reviewing each of the public comments as it considers all aspects of the proposed changes to the state's overtime rules.

"From the earliest moments of this process, we knew there was going to be intense public interest in the proposal," said L&I Deputy Director Elizabeth Smith. "We're pleased that so many people have weighed in on this important topic. The volume of comments is a testament to that interest and the department's efforts to involve as many people as possible."

Because Washington has not updated its overtime rule since 1976, employers use the federal salary threshold of $455 a week for workers who are overtime exempt. The proposed rule would restore overtime protections for tens of thousands of Washington workers.

L&I's proposal calls for an incremental increase in the minimum salary employees must earn to be classified as exempt from overtime and other protections of the Minimum Wage Act. Along with meeting the salary threshold, employees also must meet a job duties test. L&I is proposing changes that would more closely align the state's test with the federal duties test.

Under the proposed rules update, the salary threshold would incrementally increase to 2.5 times the state minimum wage. Beginning July 1, 2020, the minimum salary for overtime exempt workers would climb to $675 a week for businesses with 1-50 employees. The salary threshold would rise to $945 for employers with 51 or more employees.

When fully implemented, the salary threshold would climb to an estimated $1,536 a week for all businesses. The threshold would be modified annually after that by multiplying the state's minimum wage by 2.5.

During the public comment period on the proposal, members of the public submitted 2,266 comments. In addition, an estimated 625 people attended, and more than 180 people testified at one of seven public hearings held in July and August in Tumwater, Seattle, Bellingham, Ellensburg, Kennewick, Spokane and Vancouver.

As part of the decision-making process, L&I staff is preparing responses to the public comments, all of which will be included in a report to department leadership.

A final decision is expected in early December.

The overtime rules proposal covers employees defined as executive, administrative and professional, as well as outside salespeople and computer professionals. An estimated 250,000 employees in Washington would be affected by the rule change when it is fully in place.

For more information on the rule change process, go to Lni.wa.gov/OvertimeRulemaking.

For media information: Tim Church, 360-902-5673.

Connect with L&I: Facebook (facebook.com/laborandindustries) and Twitter (twitter.com/lniwa)

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