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Washington State Proposes Expanding Overtime Pay for Salaried Workers

June 7, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

OLYMPIA, Wash.—The Washington Department of Labor and Industries proposed a rule change June 5 that would extend eligibility for overtime pay to more than 250,000 workers. The rule would gradually raise the minimum salary where administrative workers can be denied time-and-a-half pay from the current federal standard of $23,660 a year to 2.5 times the state minimum wage in 2026, or more than $75,000. “This is a long overdue update that will help tens of thousands of Washingtonian workers,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. The new standard would be phased in over six years, going up faster at businesses with more than 50 employees. The Obama administration tried to raise the federal standard to $47,476 in 2016, but a lawsuit by Republican-governed states blocked it. The Trump administration is proposing a smaller increase, to about $35,000. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the share of salaried employees guaranteed overtime fell from 63% in the 1970s to less than 7% in 2016. The Washington proposal would cover roughly 44% of the full-time salaried workforce in the state, the EPI estimates. The final rule will be made this fall, after a period of public comment. Read more

June 7, 2019

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