Declaration of necessity and police power.
Whereas the establishment of a minimum wage for employees is a subject of vital and imminent concern to the people of this state and requires appropriate action by the legislature to establish minimum standards of employment within the state of Washington, therefore the legislature declares that in its considered judgment the health, safety and the general welfare of the citizens of this state require the enactment of this measure, and exercising its police power, the legislature endeavors by this chapter to establish a minimum wage for employees of this state to encourage employment opportunities within the state. The provisions of this chapter are enacted in the exercise of the police power of the state for the purpose of protecting the immediate and future health, safety and welfare of the people of this state.
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Director" means the director of labor and industries;
(2) "Employ" includes to permit to work;
(3) "Employee" includes any individual employed by an employer but shall not include:
(a) Any individual (i) employed as a hand harvest laborer and paid on a piece rate basis in an operation which has been, and is generally and customarily recognized as having been, paid on a piece rate basis in the region of employment; (ii) who commutes daily from his or her permanent residence to the farm on which he or she is employed; and (iii) who has been employed in agriculture less than thirteen weeks during the preceding calendar year;
(b) Any individual employed in casual labor in or about a private home, unless performed in the course of the employer's trade, business, or profession;
(c) Any individual employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity or in the capacity of outside salesperson as those terms are defined and delimited by rules of the director. However, those terms shall be defined and delimited by the human resources director pursuant to chapter 41.06
RCW for employees employed under the director of personnel's jurisdiction;
(d) Any individual engaged in the activities of an educational, charitable, religious, state or local governmental body or agency, or nonprofit organization where the employer-employee relationship does not in fact exist or where the services are rendered to such organizations gratuitously. If the individual receives reimbursement in lieu of compensation for normally incurred out-of-pocket expenses or receives a nominal amount of compensation per unit of voluntary service rendered, an employer-employee relationship is deemed not to exist for the purpose of this section or for purposes of membership or qualification in any state, local government, or publicly supported retirement system other than that provided under chapter 41.24
(e) Any individual employed full time by any state or local governmental body or agency who provides voluntary services but only with regard to the provision of the voluntary services. The voluntary services and any compensation therefor shall not affect or add to qualification, entitlement, or benefit rights under any state, local government, or publicly supported retirement system other than that provided under chapter 41.24
(f) Any newspaper vendor, carrier, or delivery person selling or distributing newspapers on the street, to offices, to businesses, or from house to house and any freelance news correspondent or "stringer" who, using his or her own equipment, chooses to submit material for publication for free or a fee when such material is published;
(g) Any carrier subject to regulation by Part 1 of the Interstate Commerce Act;
(h) Any individual engaged in forest protection and fire prevention activities;
(i) Any individual employed by any charitable institution charged with child care responsibilities engaged primarily in the development of character or citizenship or promoting health or physical fitness or providing or sponsoring recreational opportunities or facilities for young people or members of the armed forces of the United States;
(j) Any individual whose duties require that he or she reside or sleep at the place of his or her employment or who otherwise spends a substantial portion of his or her work time subject to call, and not engaged in the performance of active duties;
(k) Any resident, inmate, or patient of a state, county, or municipal correctional, detention, treatment or rehabilitative institution;
(l) Any individual who holds a public elective or appointive office of the state, any county, city, town, municipal corporation or quasi municipal corporation, political subdivision, or any instrumentality thereof, or any employee of the state legislature;
(m) All vessel operating crews of the Washington state ferries operated by the department of transportation;
(n) Any individual employed as a seaman on a vessel other than an American vessel;
(o) Any farm intern providing his or her services to a small farm which has a special certificate issued under RCW 49.12.470
(p) An individual who is at least sixteen years old but under twenty-one years old, in his or her capacity as a player for a junior ice hockey team that is a member of a regional, national, or international league and that contracts with an arena owned, operated, or managed by a public facilities district created under chapter 36.100
(4) "Employer" includes any individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust, or any person or group of persons acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee;
(5) "Occupation" means any occupation, service, trade, business, industry, or branch or group of industries or employment or class of employment in which employees are gainfully employed;
(6) "Retail or service establishment" means an establishment seventy-five percent of whose annual dollar volume of sales of goods or services, or both, is not for resale and is recognized as retail sales or services in the particular industry;
(7) "Wage" means compensation due to an employee by reason of employment, payable in legal tender of the United States or checks on banks convertible into cash on demand at full face value, subject to such deductions, charges, or allowances as may be permitted by rules of the director.
Recognition—Intent—2015 c 299:
See note following RCW 49.12.005
Expiration date—2014 c 131:
See note following RCW 49.12.470
Effective date—Purpose—2011 1st sp.s. c 43:
See notes following RCW 43.19.003
Expiration date—2010 c 160:
"This act expires December 31, 2011." [ 2010 c 160 § 6.
Short title—Headings, captions not law—Severability—Effective dates—2002 c 354:
See RCW 41.80.907
Construction—1997 c 203:
See note following RCW 49.46.130
Effective date—1993 c 281:
See note following RCW 41.06.022
Effective date—1989 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 518, approved November 8, 1988):
"This act shall take effect January 1, 1989." [ 1989 c 1 § 5.
Severability—1984 c 7:
See note following RCW 47.01.141
Effect of offset of military pay on status of bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees: RCW 73.16.080
Minimum hourly wage.
(1) Until January 1, 1999, every employer shall pay to each of his or her employees who has reached the age of eighteen years wages at a rate of not less than four dollars and ninety cents per hour.
(2) Beginning January 1, 1999, and until January 1, 2000, every employer shall pay to each of his or her employees who has reached the age of eighteen years wages at a rate of not less than five dollars and seventy cents per hour.
(3) Beginning January 1, 2000, and until January 1, 2001, every employer shall pay to each of his or her employees who has reached the age of eighteen years wages at a rate of not less than six dollars and fifty cents per hour.
(4)(a) Beginning on January 1, 2001, and each following January 1st as set forth under (b) of this subsection, every employer shall pay to each of his or her employees who has reached the age of eighteen years wages at a rate of not less than the amount established under (b) of this subsection.
(b) On September 30, 2000, and on each following September 30th, the department of labor and industries shall calculate an adjusted minimum wage rate to maintain employee purchasing power by increasing the current year's minimum wage rate by the rate of inflation. The adjusted minimum wage rate shall be calculated to the nearest cent using the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers, CPI-W, or a successor index, for the twelve months prior to each September 1st as calculated by the United States department of labor. Each adjusted minimum wage rate calculated under this subsection (4)(b) takes effect on the following January 1st.
(5) The director shall by regulation establish the minimum wage for employees under the age of eighteen years.
Effective date—1993 c 309:
"This act shall take effect January 1, 1994." [ 1993 c 309 § 2.
Effective date—1989 c 1 (Initiative Measure No. 518):
See note following RCW 49.46.010
Investigation—Services of federal agencies—Employer's records—Industrial homework.
(1) The director or his or her designated representatives may investigate and gather data regarding the wages, hours, and other conditions and practices of employment in any industry subject to this chapter, and may enter and inspect such places and such records (and make such transcriptions thereof), question such employees, and investigate such facts, conditions, practices, or matters as he or she may deem necessary or appropriate to determine whether any person has violated any provision of this chapter, or which may aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.
(2) With the consent and cooperation of federal agencies charged with the administration of federal labor laws, the director may, for the purpose of carrying out his or her functions and duties under this chapter, utilize the services of federal agencies and their employees and, notwithstanding any other provision of law, may reimburse such federal agencies and their employees for services rendered for such purposes.
(3) Every employer subject to any provision of this chapter or of any order issued under this chapter shall make, keep, and preserve such records of the persons employed by him or her and of the wages, hours, and other conditions and practices of employment maintained by him or her, and shall preserve such records for such periods of time, and shall make reports therefrom to the director as he or she shall prescribe by regulation as necessary or appropriate for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter or the regulations thereunder.
(4) The director is authorized to make such regulations regulating, restricting, or prohibiting industrial homework as are necessary or appropriate to prevent the circumvention or evasion of and to safeguard the minimum wage rate prescribed in this chapter, and all existing regulations of the director relating to industrial homework are hereby continued in full force and effect.
Exceptions for learners, apprentices, messengers, disabled.
The director, to the extent necessary in order to prevent curtailment of opportunities for employment, shall by regulations provide for (1) the employment of learners, of apprentices, and of messengers employed primarily in delivering letters and messages, under special certificates issued pursuant to regulations of the director, at such wages lower than the minimum wage applicable under RCW 49.46.020
and subject to such limitations as to time, number, proportion, and length of service as the director shall prescribe, and (2) the employment of individuals whose earning capacity is impaired by age or physical or mental deficiency or injury, under special certificates issued by the director, at such wages lower than the minimum wage applicable under RCW 49.46.020
and for such period as shall be fixed in such certificates.
Individual volunteering labor to state or local governmental agency—Amount reimbursed for expenses or received as nominal compensation not deemed salary for rendering services or affecting public retirement rights.
When an individual volunteers his or her labor to a state or local governmental body or agency and receives pursuant to a statute or policy or an ordinance or resolution adopted by or applicable to the state or local governmental body or agency reimbursement in lieu of compensation at a nominal rate for normally incurred expenses or receives a nominal amount of compensation per unit of voluntary service rendered such reimbursement or compensation shall not be deemed a salary for the rendering of services or for purposes of granting, affecting or adding to any qualification, entitlement or benefit rights under any state, local government or publicly supported retirement system other than that provided under chapter 41.24
Records of employer—Contents—Inspection—Sworn statement.
Every employer subject to any provision of this chapter or of any regulation issued under this chapter shall make, and keep in or about the premises wherein any employee is employed, a record of the name, address, and occupation of each of his or her employees, the rate of pay, and the amount paid each pay period to each such employee, the hours worked each day and each workweek by such employee, and such other information as the director shall prescribe by regulation as necessary or appropriate for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter or of the regulations thereunder. Such records shall be open for inspection or transcription by the director or his or her authorized representative at any reasonable time. Every such employer shall furnish to the director or to his or her authorized representative on demand a sworn statement of such records and information upon forms prescribed or approved by the director.
New or modified regulations—Judicial review—Stay.
(1) As new regulations or changes or modification of previously established regulations are proposed, the director shall call a public hearing for the purpose of the consideration and establishment of such regulations following the procedures used in the promulgation of standards of safety under chapter 49.17
(2) Any interested party may obtain a review of the director's findings and order in the superior court of county of petitioners' residence by filing in such court within sixty days after the date of publication of such regulation a written petition praying that the regulation be modified or set aside. A copy of such petition shall be served upon the director. The finding of facts, if supported by evidence, shall be conclusive upon the court. The court shall determine whether the regulation is in accordance with law. If the court determines that such regulation is not in accordance with law, it shall remand the case to the director with directions to modify or revoke such regulation. If application is made to the court for leave to adduce additional evidence by any aggrieved party, such party shall show to the satisfaction of the court that such additional evidence is material, and that there were reasonable grounds for the failure to adduce such evidence before the director. If the court finds that such evidence is material and that reasonable grounds exist for failure of the aggrieved party to adduce such evidence in prior proceedings, the court may remand the case to the director with directions that such additional evidence be taken before the director. The director may modify the findings and conclusions, in whole or in part, by reason of such additional evidence.
(3) The judgment and decree of the court shall be final except that it shall be subject to review by the supreme court or the court of appeals as in other civil cases.
(4) The proceedings under this section shall not, unless specifically ordered by the court, operate as a stay of an administrative regulation issued under the provisions of this chapter. The court shall not grant any stay of an administrative regulation unless the person complaining of such regulation shall file in the court an undertaking with a surety or sureties satisfactory to the court for the payment to the employees affected by the regulation, in the event such regulation is affirmed, of the amount by which the compensation such employees are entitled to receive under the regulation exceeds the compensation they actually receive while such stay is in effect.
Payment of wages less than chapter requirements—Employer's liability—Assignment of wage claim.
(1) Any employer who pays any employee less than wages to which such employee is entitled under or by virtue of this chapter, shall be liable to such employee affected for the full amount of such wage rate, less any amount actually paid to such employee by the employer, and for costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as may be allowed by the court. Any agreement between such employee and the employer to work for less than such wage rate shall be no defense to such action.
(2) At the written request of any employee paid less than the wages to which he or she is entitled under or by virtue of this chapter, the director may take an assignment under this chapter or as provided in RCW 49.48.040
of such wage claim in trust for the assigning employee and may bring any legal action necessary to collect such claim, and the employer shall be required to pay the costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as may be allowed by the court.
Prohibited acts of employer—Penalty.
(1) Any employer who hinders or delays the director or his or her authorized representatives in the performance of his or her duties in the enforcement of this chapter, or refuses to admit the director or his or her authorized representatives to any place of employment, or fails to make, keep, and preserve any records as required under the provisions of this chapter, or falsifies any such record, or refuses to make any record accessible to the director or his or her authorized representatives upon demand, or refuses to furnish a sworn statement of such record or any other information required for the proper enforcement of this chapter to the director or his or her authorized representatives upon demand, or pays or agrees to pay wages at a rate less than the rate applicable under this chapter, or otherwise violates any provision of this chapter or of any regulation issued under this chapter shall be deemed in violation of this chapter and shall, upon conviction therefor, be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
(2) Any employer who discharges or in any other manner discriminates against any employee because such employee has made any complaint to his or her employer, to the director, or his or her authorized representatives that he or she has not been paid wages in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, or that the employer has violated any provision of this chapter, or because such employee has caused to be instituted or is about to cause to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this chapter, or because such employee has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding shall be deemed in violation of this chapter and shall, upon conviction therefor, be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
Collective bargaining not impaired.
Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to interfere with, impede, or in any way diminish the right of employees to bargain collectively with their employers through representatives of their own choosing in order to establish wages or other conditions of work in excess of the applicable minimum under the provisions of this chapter.
Chapter establishes minimum standards and is supplementary to other laws—More favorable standards unaffected.
This chapter establishes a minimum standard for wages and working conditions of all employees in this state, unless exempted herefrom, and is in addition to and supplementary to any other federal, state, or local law or ordinance, or any rule or regulation issued thereunder. Any standards relating to wages, hours, or other working conditions established by any applicable federal, state, or local law or ordinance, or any rule or regulation issued thereunder, which are more favorable to employees than the minimum standards applicable under this chapter, or any rule or regulation issued hereunder, shall not be affected by this chapter and such other laws, or rules or regulations, shall be in full force and effect and may be enforced as provided by law.
Minimum rate of compensation for employment in excess of forty hour workweek—Exceptions.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no employer shall employ any of his or her employees for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his or her employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he or she is employed.
(2) This section does not apply to:
(a) Any person exempted pursuant to RCW 49.46.010
(3). The payment of compensation or provision of compensatory time off in addition to a salary shall not be a factor in determining whether a person is exempted under RCW 49.46.010
(b) Employees who request compensating time off in lieu of overtime pay;
(c) Any individual employed as a seaman whether or not the seaman is employed on a vessel other than an American vessel;
(d) Seasonal employees who are employed at concessions and recreational establishments at agricultural fairs, including those seasonal employees employed by agricultural fairs, within the state provided that the period of employment for any seasonal employee at any or all agricultural fairs does not exceed fourteen working days a year;
(e) Any individual employed as a motion picture projectionist if that employee is covered by a contract or collective bargaining agreement which regulates hours of work and overtime pay;
(f) An individual employed as a truck or bus driver who is subject to the provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Act (49 U.S.C. Sec. 3101 et seq. and 49 U.S.C. Sec. 10101 et seq.), if the compensation system under which the truck or bus driver is paid includes overtime pay, reasonably equivalent to that required by this subsection, for working longer than forty hours per week;
(g) Any individual employed (i) on a farm, in the employ of any person, in connection with the cultivation of the soil, or in connection with raising or harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodity, including raising, shearing, feeding, caring for, training, and management of livestock, bees, poultry, and furbearing animals and wildlife, or in the employ of the owner or tenant or other operator of a farm in connection with the operation, management, conservation, improvement, or maintenance of such farm and its tools and equipment; or (ii) in packing, packaging, grading, storing or delivering to storage, or to market or to a carrier for transportation to market, any agricultural or horticultural commodity; or (iii) commercial canning, commercial freezing, or any other commercial processing, or with respect to services performed in connection with the cultivation, raising, harvesting, and processing of oysters or in connection with any agricultural or horticultural commodity after its delivery to a terminal market for distribution for consumption;
(h) Any industry in which federal law provides for an overtime payment based on a workweek other than forty hours. However, the provisions of the federal law regarding overtime payment based on a workweek other than forty hours shall nevertheless apply to employees covered by this section without regard to the existence of actual federal jurisdiction over the industrial activity of the particular employer within this state. For the purposes of this subsection, "industry" means a trade, business, industry, or other activity, or branch, or group thereof, in which individuals are gainfully employed (section 3(h) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended (Public Law 93-259));
(i) Any hours worked by an employee of a carrier by air subject to the provisions of subchapter II of the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. Sec. 181 et seq.), when such hours are voluntarily worked by the employee pursuant to a shift-trading practice under which the employee has the opportunity in the same or in other workweeks to reduce hours worked by voluntarily offering a shift for trade or reassignment; and
(j) Any individual licensed under chapter 18.85
RCW unless the individual is providing real estate brokerage services under a written contract with a real estate firm which provides that the individual is an employee. For purposes of this subsection (2)(j), "real estate brokerage services" and "real estate firm" mean the same as defined in RCW 18.85.011
(3) No employer shall be deemed to have violated subsection (1) of this section by employing any employee of a retail or service establishment for a workweek in excess of the applicable workweek specified in subsection (1) of this section if:
(a) The regular rate of pay of the employee is in excess of one and one-half times the minimum hourly rate required under RCW 49.46.020
(b) More than half of the employee's compensation for a representative period, of not less than one month, represents commissions on goods or services.
In determining the proportion of compensation representing commissions, all earnings resulting from the application of a bona fide commission rate is to be deemed commissions on goods or services without regard to whether the computed commissions exceed the draw or guarantee.
(4) No employer of commissioned salespeople primarily engaged in the business of selling automobiles, trucks, recreational vessels, recreational vessel trailers, recreational vehicle trailers, recreational campers, manufactured housing, or farm implements to ultimate purchasers shall violate subsection (1) of this section with respect to such commissioned salespeople if the commissioned salespeople are paid the greater of:
(a) Compensation at the hourly rate, which may not be less than the rate required under RCW 49.46.020
, for each hour worked up to forty hours per week, and compensation of one and one-half times that hourly rate for all hours worked over forty hours in one week; or
(b) A straight commission, a salary plus commission, or a salary plus bonus applied to gross salary.
(5) No public agency shall be deemed to have violated subsection (1) of this section with respect to the employment of any employee in fire protection activities or any employee in law enforcement activities (including security personnel in correctional institutions) if: (a) In a work period of twenty-eight consecutive days the employee receives for tours of duty which in the aggregate exceed two hundred forty hours; or (b) in the case of such an employee to whom a work period of at least seven but less than twenty-eight days applies, in his or her work period the employee receives for tours of duty which in the aggregate exceed a number of hours which bears the same ratio to the number of consecutive days in his or her work period as two hundred forty hours bears to twenty-eight days; compensation at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he or she is employed.
Findings—Intent—1998 c 239:
"The legislature finds that employees in the airline industry have a long-standing practice and tradition of trading shifts voluntarily among themselves. The legislature also finds that federal law exempts airline employees from the provisions of federal overtime regulations. This act is intended to specify that airline industry employers are not required to pay overtime compensation to an employee agreeing to work additional hours for a coemployee." [ 1998 c 239 § 1.
Intent—Collective bargaining agreements—1998 c 239:
"This act does not alter the terms, conditions, or practices contained in any collective bargaining agreement." [ 1998 c 239 § 3.
Retroactive application—1998 c 239:
"This act is remedial in nature and applies retroactively." [ 1998 c 239 § 4.
Severability—1998 c 239:
"If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [ 1998 c 239 § 5.
Construction—1997 c 203:
"Nothing in this act shall be construed to alter the terms, conditions, or practices contained in any collective bargaining agreement in effect at the time of the effective date of this act [July 27, 1997] until the expiration date of such agreement." [ 1997 c 203 § 4.
Intent—Application—1995 c 5:
"This act is intended to clarify the original intent of RCW 49.46.010
(5)(c). This act applies to all administrative and judicial actions commenced on or after February 1, 1995, and pending on March 30, 1995, and such actions commenced on or after March 30, 1995." [ 1995 c 5 § 2.
Effective date—1995 c 5:
"This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately [March 30, 1995]." [ 1995 c 5 § 3.
Notification of employers.
The director of the department of labor and industries and the commissioner of employment security shall each notify employers of the requirements of chapter 289, Laws of 1975 1st ex. sess. through their regular quarterly notices to employers.
Automatic service charges.
(1) An employer that imposes an automatic service charge related to food, beverages, entertainment, or porterage provided to a customer must disclose in an itemized receipt and in any menu provided to the customer the percentage of the automatic service charge that is paid or is payable directly to the employee or employees serving the customer.
(2) For purposes of this section:
(a) "Employee" means nonmanagerial, nonsupervisory workers, including but not limited to servers, busers, banquet attendant, banquet captains, bartenders, barbacks, and porters.
(b) "Employer" means employers as defined in RCW 49.46.010
that provide food, beverages, entertainment, or porterage, including but not limited to restaurants, catering houses, convention centers, and overnight accommodations.
(c) "Service charge" means a separately designated amount collected by employers from customers that is for services provided by employees, or is described in such a way that customers might reasonably believe that the amounts are for such services. Service charges include but are not limited to charges designated on receipts as a "service charge," "gratuity," "delivery charge," or "porterage charge." Service charges are in addition to hourly wages paid or payable to the employee or employees serving the customer.
This chapter may be known and cited as the "Washington Minimum Wage Act."
Effective date—1975 1st ex.s. c 289.
This 1975 amendatory act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety, the support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect September 1, 1975.