An overview of some essential requirements and resources for business owners.


Required posters

Post 3 free L&I required posters where employees will see them and also send to remote workers.


Keep payroll and personnel records for at least 3 years and keep them safe to protect employee privacy. Learn more about your requirements about payroll records.


Employers can't discipline employees for raising concerns about anything related to their rights. Learn more about state law giving employees specific workplace protections regarding retaliation.

Contractors: Construction, landscape, and related trades

All businesses performing construction work must be insured, bonded, and registered with L&I as contractors to bid, advertise, or perform work. Learn how to register as a construction contractor.

Safety & Health

Follow safety rules

ALL workplaces have safety requirements, even remote workplaces. Learn and follow the safety rules for your workplace.

Find and fix safety hazards

Find and prevent workplace hazards instead of reacting to injuries. L&I offers tools to help you reduce or eliminate hazards. Get started with safety and health in your workplace.

Create your safety program

A workplace safety program requires a written Accident Prevention Program (APP), and includes your specific workplace hazards, such as chemicals, tools, and machinery. Learn more about creating an APP for your workplace.

Provide safety training to employees

Your specific workplace will also have specific safety training requirements. L&I offers online safety training materials to help you get started.

Report workplace injuries and fatalities

Employers must contact L&I within 8 hours of a worker fatality or in-patient hospitalization; and within 24 hours of a non-hospitalized amputation or loss of an eye.

Feeling overwhelmed? Not sure where to begin? Get a safety consultation

L&I offers confidential, no-fee, professional advice and assistance with your safety program. Learn more and schedule your own safety consultation.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

Cover all workers

Workers' compensation insurance coverage is required for all of your workers, unless there is a specific exemption in state law. This includes family and friends who work for your business, short-term staff, and owners without significant management authority. It may include independent contractors. Do you need a workers' comp account? Find out more.

Independent contractors

Many independent contractors must be covered because they don't meet the rules for state exemption. Use L&I resources to learn if you need to cover them.

Open an account

If you have workers to be covered, you must have a workers' compensation account. To open an account, update your state business license indicating that you are hiring employees.

File and pay quarterly premiums

Report workers' hours every quarter to L&I and pay the premium by the due date. If you have no hours to report in a quarter, you must still file a quarterly report, noting zero hours.

Update your information regularly

Keep your workers' compensation account up-to-date with changes to your business ownership, contact information, and services or products you offer. Get secure access to your information at L&I and take advantage of our secure online services.

If a worker is injured on the job

Encourage the worker to get medical attention, and file a worker report of accident. After the worker submits their report, file an employer report of accident.

If a work injury prevents an employee from working

Consider L&I's return to work programs to lessen the impacts of worker injuries on your rates. Learn more about how to help your employee return to work.

Workers' Rights

Pay no less than minimum wage

Employers must pay employees at least the state minimum wage for every hour worked. Seattle, SeaTac and Tukwila have higher pay rates.

Pay 1.5x for all hours over 40 in a workweek

Most employees must be paid overtime. To be exempt from overtime, jobs must meet salary and duties tests. L&I can help you understand these tests.

Pay-related practices

You can't ask applicants or employees about their pay history, or prohibit employees from talking about their pay with others. If you have 15 or more employees, you must provide the salary range and benefits on job postings. Learn more about equal pay compliance by getting a FREE L&I consultation.


Pay employees at least monthly, and provide pay and deduction detail. Learn more about pay requirements from L&I.


Tips don't count toward meeting minimum wage. Tips from customers must go to workers. Learn about the rules surrounding tips and service charges.

Noncompete agreements

Employers can't require an employee to sign a non-compete agreement unless their salary meets an annual minimum. Review Washington's non-competition law related to earnings.

Provide paid sick leave to all workers, even part-time and temporary (unless exempt by law)

Accrue at least one hour sick leave per 40 hours of work. Allow employee use as described in the law for themselves and family members. Provide usage and balance information monthly.

Rest breaks

Provide at least a 10-minute paid rest break per four hours worked, to start no later than the third hour. Learn more about rest break rules.

Meal period

Provide at least a 30-minute meal period in a shift of 5 hours or more. You do not have to pay for the meal break unless employee must remain on duty during that time. Learn more about meal break rules.

Teen workers

Employers must have a minor work permit to employ teens, and each job must meet youth work restrictions, with an L&I authorization form for each worker. Know the specific laws and rules that employers must follow, whether during the school year or in summer months.

Family members

Employers must pay them as other employees, unless they are also legal business owners. Learn more about your obligations if family members work for you.

Gender equity

Employment-related decisions can't be based on gender. Employers can how get a FREE L&I consultation to assess their equal pay compliance.

Isolated workers

Must provide a panic button, special training and other protections to hotel/motel workers, janitors, security, and other property services workers who work without coworkers present. Learn more about isolated work protections

More Information

Sign up for an L&I Essentials for Business webinar or workshop.

Have questions or need assistance in any language?


Contact L&I's Small Business Office