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The Law on Overtime Pay Under the Washington State Minimum Wage Act ("MWA")

While the minimum wage amount of a given state may fluctuate every year, the rules and regulations pertaining to overtime work remains concrete. In Washington State, the current minimum wage for 2015 is $9.47 (though it may be higher in different cities). Working overtime is nationally recognized as working over 40 hours per week. Thus, any individual who works in excess of 40 hours in any given week must be compensated accordingly, otherwise that employee can make a claim for overtime. The Washington State Minimum Wage Act (“MWA”) requires that employers pay overtime wages to employees that work over 40 hours in a single week and compensation for overtime wages must amount to at least one and one-half times the employee’s normal rate, pursuant to RCW 49.46.130. A “work week” is any 7 days and does not necessarily have to be Sunday-Saturday. It can be Wednesday-Tuesday if the employer wishes – but this should be clear at the outset.

If an employer neglects to pay proper overtime, the employee may attempt to recover “the full amount of such wage rate, less any amount actually paid to such employee by the employer”. RCW 49.46.090. Thus, if your regular hourly rate is $24/hour, each hour you work overtime must be compensated by at least 1.5X the regular rate, meaning you should not be compensated any less than $36 per hour worked in overtime. Additionally, the employee is entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and costs that have resulted from pursuing a lawsuit involving a violation of the MWA.

Lastly, it is important to note that the Washington State regulations of overtime pay only apply to employees that are paid on an hourly basis. Individuals who work on a salary basis are not required to be paid overtime by their employers. However, if an employer has misclassified employees as “exempt”, the employer can be held liable for substantial sums of overtime pay.

If you have any questions about the MWA, overtime pay, wage and hour claims, or classification, feel free to contact Attorney Ada K. Wong of AKW Law, PLLC for a free initial consultation at or (425) 954-3512.

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