WA Minimum wage, overtime, and workers’ comp premium changes take effect next week

Changes in Washington’s minimum wage, overtime for white-collar professionals, overtime for agricultural workers, and workers’ compensation premiums will take effect Jan. 1st.

According to the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, the state’s minimum wage will increase to $14.49 per hour starting Saturday. It’s based on a 5.83 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. The state minimum wage applies to workers age 16 and older. Under state law, employers may pay 85 percent of the minimum wage to workers ages 14-to-15. For 2022, the wage for that younger age group will be $12.32 per hour.

The minimum salary an employee must earn to be considered overtime-exempt will rise on Jan. 1st. It covers “white collar” positions held by executive, administrative, and professional workers and includes computer professionals and outside salespeople.

Among the requirements to be exempt, salaried employees must meet the job duties test and earn at least a minimum salary of $1,014.30 a week or $52,743.60 a year.

Under an historic new law, Washington’s farm workers will be eligible to earn overtime, for the first time, starting in 2022. The law includes a three-year phase-in schedule that incrementally reduces the number of hours worked by farm workers before they are entitled to overtime pay which will be 55 hours in a work week beginning January 1st. Dairy workers are already eligible to earn overtime after working 40 hours in a work week.

Additionally, the average workers’ compensation premium rate for hours worked in 2022 will go up 3.1 percent on New Year’s Day.