Tag Archives: Washington

Clarification for Washington Employers with Tipped Employees

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) clarified existing policies on Tips, Gratuities, and Service Charges. Here are 5 points to review in your policies that apply to Tipped Employees:

#1.  All tips belong to the employee.

  • Existing policy: All tips must go to the tipped employee and employers cannot take a “tip credit” toward the employee’s minimum wage (tip pooling is permitted).
  • Clarification: The employer may have a policy prohibiting the employee from accepting tips or gratuities, but if a customer leaves a tip “in defiance of a policy” the employee must be permitted to keep the tip.

#2.  Exempt individuals may not be part of a tip pool.

  • Existing policy: Tip pooling can be mandatory however, per Federal and State guidelines, Managers and Supervisors may not be included in a tip pool.
  • Clarification: The interpretation of “Manager and Supervisor” now includes any individual that is “Exempt” under RCW 49.46.010(3)(c).
    • Note: Exempt employees can accept tips, but only for services that they “directly provide” to customers and they may not participate in a tip pool.

Continue reading Clarification for Washington Employers with Tipped Employees

NEW LAW — Minimum Wage Increases for Certain Washington Cities

Attention employers in SeaTac, Seattle, and Tacoma, Washington … minimum wage in these cities is increasing on January 1, 2019.

For employers in SeaTac, minimum wage is increasing for certain employers in the hospitality and transportation industries from $15.64 to $16.09 per hour on January 1, 2019.

For employers in Seattle, minimum wage is increasing on January 1, 2019 as follows: Continue reading NEW LAW — Minimum Wage Increases for Certain Washington Cities

Washington Expands Equal Pay Protections

In a major revision of the state’s anti-discrimination law, Washington has passed amendments to its Equal Pay Act to address income disparities, employer discrimination and retaliation practices in the state.  The amendment will make it a misdemeanor for an employer to discriminate in providing compensation based on the gender of similarly employed employees.  With an effective date of June 7, 2018, employers should begin preparations to comply with these significant changes in the law.

What the New Law Does

Key amendments to Washington’s Equal Pay law include: Continue reading Washington Expands Equal Pay Protections

Washington Takes a #MeToo Stand with Passage of New Laws

Washington has become one of the first states to pass laws to further curb sexual harassment and sexual assault in light of the revelations from the #MeToo movement. Specifically, Washington will now prohibit employers from using Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) to prevent victims of domestic violence from disclosing instances of sexual harassment or assault and will soon require specific employment policies and practices to address these issues.

No More Non-Disclosure Agreements 

The first of these laws is designed to encourage the disclosure and discussion of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. This new law prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign, as a condition of employment, an NDA preventing them from disclosing sexual harassment or sexual assault occurring in the workplace, at work-related events coordinated by or through the employer, or between employees, or between an employer and an employee, off the employment premises.

Importantly, this law does not prohibit a settlement agreement between an employee or former employee alleging sexual harassment and an employer from containing confidentiality provisions. Thus, while employers may not require employees to sign any form of agreement that requires them to remain silent about future instances of sexual harassment or sexual assault, such as an NDA at the time of hire, they may request employees to enter into confidential settlement agreements for incidents that have already occurred.

This law will take effect June 7, 2018.

Model Policies and Best Practices Continue reading Washington Takes a #MeToo Stand with Passage of New Laws

Washington Joins the “Ban the Box” Bandwagon

Effective June 6, 2018, Washington employers will no longer be permitted to ask applicants about arrests or convictions, or to receive information through a criminal background check, prior to making a determination as to whether the applicant is otherwise qualified for a position. This new law is known as the Fair Chance Act (the Act).

Prohibited Activities Under the Act

Under the Act, an employer is prohibited from doing any of the following before making an initial determination that an applicant is otherwise qualified for the position:

  • Asking orally or in writing about the applicant’s criminal record;
  • Receive information through a criminal history background check; or
  • Otherwise obtaining information about the applicant’s criminal record.

For purposes of the Act, an applicant is “otherwise qualified for the position” when the applicant meets the basic criteria for the position as set out in the advertisement or job description without consideration of a criminal record.

The Act also limits the content of an employer’s advertisements for job openings and hiring policies by specifically prohibiting:

  • Advertising employment openings in a way that excludes people with criminal records from applying (e.g., ads that state “no felons” or “no criminal background”); and
  • Maintaining any policy or practice that automatically or categorically excludes individuals with a criminal record from consideration prior to an initial determination that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.

o   Such prohibited policies and practices include rejecting an applicant for failure to disclose a criminal record prior to initially determining the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.

Activities and Employers Not Covered by the Act Continue reading Washington Joins the “Ban the Box” Bandwagon

Is The Minimum Pay Required For Commissioned Employees To Qualify For An Overtime Exemption Increasing In Your State In 2018?

While the minimum pay required for commissioned employees to qualify for an overtime exemption is not changing in 2018, there are several states where the minimum pay requirements for a “commissioned employee overtime exemption” are increasing.

These increases (i.e. in California, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Washington DC) are occurring because the pay an inside or commissioned salesperson must receive to qualify for the inside or “commissioned” sales exemption (as established under state law) are scheduled to increase in 2018 (December 31st for New York employers).

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), in order for a commissioned salesperson to qualify for the FLSA’s 7(i) overtime exception (Commissioned Salesperson Exemption), the following three conditions must be met:

  1. The employee must be employed by a retail or service establishment, and
  2. The employee’s regular rate of pay must exceed one and one-half times the applicable minimum wage for every hour worked in a workweek in which overtime hours are worked, and
  3. More than half the employee’s total earnings in a representative period must consist of commissions.

Unless all three conditions are met, the Commissioned Salesperson Exemption is not applicable, and overtime premium pay must be paid for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek at time and one-half the regular rate of pay.

The below table sets forth the changes to the minimum salary requirements for exempt employees in these states.  In those instances where the state minimum salary requirements are lower than the above-listed FLSA requirements, the higher salary threshold applies for employers who are subject to FLSA in order for employees to qualify for an exemption under the FLSA. Continue reading Is The Minimum Pay Required For Commissioned Employees To Qualify For An Overtime Exemption Increasing In Your State In 2018?

2018 MINIMUM WAGE CHECK-UP

With various cities and counties having enacted local minimum wages and 18 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York*, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington) are increasing their own minimum wages on January 1st (December 31st for New York), employers should take time to verify that they are meeting the minimum wage requirements of their state/city/county.

The below chart sets forth the minimum wage effective January 1, 2018.

employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits$11.91

Federal $7.25
State City/County  Amount?
Alabama  $7.25
Alaska*  $9.84
Arizona* — all cities/counties except …  $10.50
Flagstaff* $11.00
Arkansas  $8.50
California* — all cities/counties except …                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $11.00
Berkeley  $13.75
Cupertino* $13.50
El Cerrito*  $13.60
Emeryville                                           small employer (55 or less) $14.00
large employer (56 or more) $15.20
Los Altos* $13.50
Los Angeles                                         small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Malibu                                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Milpitas* $12.00
Mountain View* $15.00
Oakland $12.86
Palo Alto* $13.50
Pasadena                                             small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Richmond*                                             employer does NOT pay $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $13.41
employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $11.91
Sacramento*                                      small employer (100 or less) $10.50
large employer (101 or more) $11.00
San Diego $11.50
San Francisco $14.00
San Jose* $13.50
San Leandro $13.00
San Mateo*                                                 For-profit organizations $13.50
Non-profit organizations $12.00
Santa Clara* $13.00
Santa Monica                                       small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Sunnyvale* $15.00
Los Angeles County                            small employer (25 or less)

unincorporated areas                            large employer (26 or more)

$10.50

$12.00

Colorado* $10.20
Connecticut $10.10
Delaware $8.25
Florida* $8.25
Georgia $7.25
Hawaii* $10.10
Idaho $7.25
Illinois — all cities/counties except … $8.25
Chicago $11.00
Cook County

(except for the Village of Barrington)

$10.00
Indiana $7.25
Iowa $7.25
Kansas $7.25
Kentucky $7.25
Louisiana $7.25
Maine* — all cities/counties except … $10.00
Portland $10.68
Maryland — all cities/counties except … $9.25
Montgomery County $11.50
Prince George’s County $11.50
Massachusetts $11.00
Michigan* $9.25
Minnesota* — all cities/counties except … “small employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of less than $500,000) $7.87
“large employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of $500,000+) $9.65
Minneapolis                                         large employer (101 or more) $10.00
Mississippi $7.25
Missouri $7.85
Montana* $8.30
Nebraska $9.00
Nevada $8.25
New Hampshire $7.25
New Jersey* $8.60
New Mexico — all cities/counties except … $7.50
Albuquerque*                                             employer provides benefits $7.95
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.95
Las Cruces* $9.45
Santa Fe $11.09
Bernalillo County*unincorporated areas                                             employer provides benefits $7.85
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.85
Santa Fe County unincorporated areas $11.09
New York**  “Upstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $10.40
“Downstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $11.00
“Small” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees $12.00
Fast food employees outside NYC $11.75
“Large” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees) $13.00
Fast food employees inside NYC $13.50
North Carolina $7.25
North Dakota $7.25
Ohio* $8.30
Oklahoma $7.25
Oregon — all cities/counties except … $10.25
Portland $11.25
Nonurban Counties 

(Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klmath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa Wheeler counties)

$10.00
Pennsylvania $7.25
Rhode Island* $10.10
South Carolina $7.25
South Dakota* $8.85
Tennessee $7.25
Texas $7.25
Utah $7.25
Vermont* $10.50
Virginia $7.25
Washington* — all cities/counties except … $11.50
City of SeaTac* (hospitality and transportation workers) $15.64
Seattle* $14.00
small employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

small employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

$11.50
large employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.00
large employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.45
Tacoma* $12.00
Washington DC $12.50
West Virginia $8.75
Wisconsin $7.25
Wyoming $7.25
 * = increase in minimum wage effective January 1, 2018

** = increase in minimum wage effective December 31, 2017

 

Caveat: Please be advised that this information is being provided as a courtesy and that ePlace Solutions, Inc. does not track local laws and ordinances and will not update this information with changes in local laws and ordinances.

 

 

NEW LAW: Washington’s Healthy Starts Act Now In Effect

On July 23, 2017, Washington’s Healthy Starts Act went into effect.  This new law requires Washington employers with 15 or more employees to provide accommodations to pregnant employees.

Specifically, under the new law, affected employers are required to reasonable accommodate pregnant employees regardless of a disability.  Accommodations that employers may consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing more frequent, longer, or flexible restroom breaks;
  • Modifying a no food or drink policy;
  • Job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, or acquiring or modifying equipment, devices, or an employee’s work station;
  • Providing seating or allowing the employee to sit more frequently if her job requires her to stand;
  • Providing for a temporary transfer to a less strenuous or less hazardous position;
  • Providing assistance with manual labor and limits on lifting;
  • Scheduling flexibility for prenatal visits; and
  • Any further pregnancy accommodation an employee may request, and to which an employer must give reasonable consideration in consultation with information provided on pregnancy accommodation by the Department of Labor and industries or the attending health care provider of the employee.

While employers may request that an employee provide medical certification for many of the above-listed accommodations, employers are prohibited from requesting medical certification for the following accommodations – if requested by a pregnant employee:

  • Providing more frequent, longer, or flexible restroom breaks;
  • Modifying a no food or drink policy;
  • Providing seating or allowing the employee to sit more frequently if her job requires her to stand; and
  • Limits on lifting over 17 pounds.

In addition to the foregoing requirements, the law also expressly prohibits employers from:

  • Failing or refusing to make reasonable accommodation for an employee for pregnancy, unless the employer can demonstrate that doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business;
  • Taking adverse action against an employee who requests, declines, or uses an accommodation under this section that affects the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment;
  • Denying employment opportunities to an otherwise qualified employee if such denial is based on the employer’s need to make reasonable accommodation required by this section;
  • Requiring an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided for the employee’s pregnancy.

Important Note for Washington Employers

The requirements under the Healthy Starts Act are in addition to existing accommodation requirements under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (which requires employers with 8 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with known disabilities, which can include pregnancy-related disabilities) and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (which requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with a known disabilities, which can include pregnancy-related disabilities)

Washington employers should review the new law and verify that its practices are in compliance with the new requirements.

2017 Minimum Wage Increases — Cities and Counties

In an earlier article (“State Minimum Wage Increases for 2017“), we provided a breakdown of the increases to State minimum wage that are going into effect on January 1, 2017 (December 31, 2016 for New York).

In addition to these minimum wage increases, several cities (and some counties) have their own “local minimum wages” which are also increasing in the new year.

Minimum Wage as of November 21, 2016 Scheduled Increase for January 1, 2017
Arizona Cities
Flagstaff $8.05 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $12.00
California Cities/Counties
County of Los Angeles $10.00 No increase 1/1/17         To increase 7/1/17 — $10.50
small employer (25 or less)
large employer (26 or more) $10.50 No increase 1/1/17         To increase 7/1/17 — $12.00
County/City of San Francisco $13.00 No increase 1/1/17 To increase 7/1/17 — $14.00
Berkeley Alameda County $12.53 No increase 1/1/17 To increase 10/1/17 — $13.75
Cupertino Santa Clara County $10.00 $12.00
El Cerrito Contra Costa County $11.60 $12.25
Emeryville Alameda County $13.00 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $14.00
small employer (55 or less)
large employer (56 or more) $14.82 No increase 1/1/17      May increase 7/1/17 based on CPI
Long Beach LA County $10.00 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $10.50
small employer (25 or less)
large employer (26 or more) $10.50 No increase 1/1/17 To increase 7/1/17 — $12.00
Los Altos Santa Clara County $10.00 $12.00
Los Angeles LA County $10.00 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $10.50
small employer (25 or less)
large employer (26 or more) $10.50 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $12.00
Mailbu Los Angeles County $10.00 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $10.50
small employer (25 or less)
large employer (26 or more) $10.50 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $12.00
Mountain View Santa Clara County $11.00 $13.00
Oakland Alameda County $12.55 No increase 1/1/17
Palo Alto Santa Clara County $11.00 No increase 1/1/17
Pasadena LA County $10.00 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $10.50
small employer (25 or less)
large employer (26 or more) $10.50 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $12.00
Richmond Contra Costa County $11.52 $12.30
San Diego San Diego County $10.50 $11.50
San Jose Santa Clara County $10.30 No increase 1/1/17
small employer (25 or less)
large employer (101 or more) $10.30 $10.50
San Leandro Alameda County $10.00 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $12.00
San Mateo San Mateo County $10.00 $12.00
For profit companies
small Non profit companies (25 or less) $10.00 No increase 1/1/17
large Non profit companies (26 or more $10.00 $10.50
Santa Clara Santa Clara County $11.00 No increase 1/1/17
Santa Monica LA County $10.00 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $10.50
small employer (25 or less)
large employer (26 or more) $10.50 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $12.00
Sacramento Sacramento County $10.00 No increase 1/1/17         To increase 1/1/18 — $10.50
small employer (25 or less)
large employer (26 or more) $10.00 $10.50
Sunnyvale Santa Clara County $11.00 $13.00
Illinois Cities/Counties
Cook County $8.25 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $10.00
Chicago $10.50 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $11.00
Iowa Counties
Johnson County $9.15 $10.10
Linn County $7.25 $8.25
Polk County $7.25 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 4/1/17 — $8.75
Wapello County $7.25 $8.20
Maine Cities
Bangor $7.50 $9.00
Portland $10.10 $10.68
Maryland Counties
Montgomery County $10.75 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 10/1/17 — $11.50
Prince George’s County $10.75 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 10/1/17 — $11.50
New Mexico Cities/Counties
Bernalillo County $8.65 No increase 1/1/17
Santa Fe County $10.91 No increase 1/1/17
Albuquerque $8.75 No increase 1/1/17
Las Cruces $8.40 $9.20
Santa Fe $10.91 No increase 1/1/17
New York Cities/Counties
“Upstate” employers (excluding fast food employers) $9.00 for all employees but fast food employees $9.70
“Upstate” Fast Food employers $9.75 for fast food employees only $10.75
“Downstate” employers (excluding fast food employers) $9.00 for all employees but fast food employees $10.00
“Downstate” Fast Food employers $9.75 for fast food employees only $10.75
New York City “small” employers (excluding fast food employers) $9.00 for all employees but fast food employees $10.50
New York City “large” employers (excluding fast food employers) $9.00 for all employees but fast food employees $11.00
New York City Fast Food employers $9.75 for fast food employees only $12.00
~ “Upstate” = employers in all counties “upstate” from the greater NYC area              ~ “Downstate” = employers in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties                    ~ “Small” NYC employers = employers with 10 or fewer employees                            ~ “Large” NYC employers = employers with 11 or more employees
Oregon Cities/Counties
Nonurban Counties
(Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa Wheeler counties)
$9.50 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $10.00
Portland $9.75 No increase 1/1/17        To increase 7/1/17 — $11.25
Washington Cities
City of SeaTac (hospitality and transportation workers) $15.00 No increase 1/1/17
Seattle
small employer (500 or less) $12.00 $13.00
large employer (501 or more) $13.00 $15.00
Tacoma $10.35 $11.15

Recommendation for Employers

It is recommended that employers in the above-listed cities/counties prepare for these minimum wage increases.  In addition, if your city/county is not listed on this chart, we recommend that you check with your local Chamber of Commerce to determine the minimum wage in your city.

Caveat: Please be advised that this information is being provided as a courtesy and that ePlace Solutions, Inc. does not track local laws and ordinances and will not update this information with changes in local laws and ordinances.

Washington Employers – Coming January 1, 2018 To A Workplace Near You – Paid Sick Leave

In addition to increasing Washington’s minimum wage starting January 1, 2017 (see 2016 Election Aftermath – Minimum wage to increase in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington), the passage of Initiative 1433 also brings paid sick leave to Washington employers.

Starting January 1, 2018, all Washington employers will be required to start providing employees with paid sick leave. With the passage of Initiative 1433, Washington joins Oregon, California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut as states that provide paid sick leave to employees. (Washington DC and numerous cities in the US also require employers to provide paid sick leave benefits).

Who is covered by the Washington Paid Sick Leave Law?

All Washington employers will be required to provide employees with paid sick leave.

How much paid sick leave must be provided?

Starting January 1, 2018, employees of Washington employers will start accruing paid sick leave. Paid sick leave benefits will accrue at a rate of 1 hour for every 40 hours worked by the employee. For new employees, accrual begins on the first day of employment.

The new law does not create a yearly accrual cap or a yearly usage cap for paid sick leave. However, Washington employers may choose to “frontload” an employee’s sick leave entitlement (in other words provide the employee with the estimated annual accrual of paid sick leave at the start of the year/start of employment).

When are employees eligible to use paid sick leave?

The new sick leave law imposes a 90-calendar day waiting period before a newly hired employee can use paid sick leave benefits. This means that for employees who have been employed by the employer for more than 90 days as of January 1, 2018, those employees will be eligible to use their paid sick leave benefits as those benefits are accrued.

What can paid sick leave be used for?

Under the new law, an employee will be able to use his/her paid sick leave benefits for the following purposes:

  • an employee’s illness, injury, or health condition, including diagnosis, treatment, care, and preventive care;
  • to care for a family member’s illness, injury, or health condition, including diagnosis, treatment, care, and preventive care;
  • when an employee’s place of business or an employee’s child’s school or place of care is closed by a public health official for any health-related reason; or,
  • for employee absences for qualified leave under the domestic violence leave act.

Who is considered a “family member” under the paid sick leave statute?

Under the Washington paid sick leave law, a family member is defined as the employee’s:

  • Child, including a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis, is a legal guardian, or is a de facto parent, regardless of age or dependency status;
  • Biological, adoptive, de facto, or foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of an employee or the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child;
  • Spouse;
  • Registered domestic partner;
  • Grandparent;
  • Grandchild; or
  • Sibling.

Are employers permitted to cap sick leave accrual?

No, the paid sick leave statute does not provide for caps on paid sick leave accrual.  Employees must accrue 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked.

Are employers permitted to cap sick leave usage?

No, the paid sick leave statute does not provide a cap on the amount of paid sick leave an employee can use in a year.  In other words, employees must be allowed to use as much sick leave as they are able to accrue each year.

Does unused, accrued paid sick leave carryover into the next year?

Yes, employers are required to carryover at least 40 hours of unused, accrued paid sick leave at year-end.

What are the employee’s notice requirements before using paid sick leave?

An employer may require employees to give reasonable notice of an absence from work, so long as such notice does not interfere with an employee’s lawful use of paid sick leave. In addition, for absences exceeding three days, an employer may require verification that an employee’s use of paid sick leave is for an authorized purpose. If an employer requires verification, verification must be provided to the employer within a reasonable time period during or after the leave.

Are employers required to payout unused, accrued paid sick leave at termination of employment?

No, employers are not required to pay out accrued, unused paid sick leave at termination of employment.

However, if the employee is rehired within 12 months of his/her termination, then the employer must reinstate all of the employee’s accrued, unused paid sick leave.

If an employer chooses to pay out accrued, unused paid sick leave upon termination, the employer does not have to reinstate any leave upon reinstatement.

What should Washington employers do to prepare for the new law?

Washington’s new Paid Sick Leave Law goes into effect on January 1, 2018. In order to prepare for this new law, employers should prepare paid sick leave policies and plan to include those policies in their 2018 Employee Handbook. In addition, employers with existing sick leave or PTO policies should check their policies to verify that they are compliant with this new law. We will keep you posted about this law as it draws closer to the effective date.

NOTE: Several municipalities in Washington have separate sick leave requirements. Check your city/county to confirm the sick leave requirements in your area.