Washington state legislators are considering a regulation that would make workers who earn less than approximately $49,000 at companies with more than 50 employees eligible for overtime pay.
For companies with fewer than 50 employees, the threshold would be approximately $34,000.
Washington’s Department of Labor & Industry said that those levels are based on the state’s minimum wage.
The state’s current threshold of $13,000 hasn’t been updated in more than 40 years. State officials said that if the regulation goes into effect, it could extend overtime eligibility to more than 250,000 workers in the state by 2026. Implementation of the increases would start July 1, 2020, and end Jan. 1, 2026.
“The current system is out of date,” Joel Sacks, director of the state’s Department of Labor & Industry, said in a statement. “It’s at risk of failing tens of thousands of workers by broadly defining what a white-collar worker is, which allows businesses to pay salaries that may be even less than minimum wage. We want to make sure that people who legitimately deserve overtime get paid for the extra hours they work.”
Companies would need to ensure that employees meet duties tests and are not mischaracterized as being exempt from overtime pay.
Both thresholds are higher than the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s $23,660 current mark. The higher of Washington’s two proposals would exceed the U.S. Department of Labor’s recently proposed update, which would increase the federal threshold to $35,308 per year.
Comments on the proposed state regulations are being accepted until Sept. 6.