Payment of Wages: Washington
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Author: Patrick M. Madden, K&L Gates LLP
- Wages must be paid in cash, or by check immediately convertible into cash. Employers may require direct deposit and other payment alternatives if employees incur no cost. See Wage Payment Methods.
- Employees must be paid at least monthly. Depending on the frequency of payment, paydays may occur either seven or 10 days after the pay period ends. A separate payday may be established for overtime pay, under certain circumstances. See Pay Frequency.
- Deductions from wages are generally allowed if required by state or federal law, if they are for health care or insurance, or if they are voluntary, authorized in writing and are solely for the benefit of the employee. See Permitted and Prohibited Wage Deductions.
- The Washington Small Business Retirement Marketplace is a free, online marketplace where qualified financial services firms offer low-cost retirement savings plans that small employers (fewer than 100 employees) may offer to eligible employees. Employees who are eligible to participate in a retirement plan under the Internal Revenue Code are eligible to participate on a voluntary basis. See Washington Small Business Retirement Marketplace.
- Employers must provide employees with written, itemized pay statements every payday containing specific information. Electronically provided pay statements are permitted if certain requirements are met. An employer may use pay statements to satisfy the notice requirements of the Washington Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law. See Pay Statement Requirements.
- A terminated employee must be paid final wages at the end of the next regular pay period. Employers must pay employees for accrued vacation if the employer has a policy or contract providing for it or has otherwise promised to pay it. Employers covered under the Washington Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law may choose to pay employees for a portion of their accrued, unused leave time when employment ends, if agreed to in writing. See Termination Pay.
- After the death of an employee, employers must follow detailed rules to assure that they pay any remaining wages to the correct party. See Deceased Employee Wages.
- Wages unclaimed for one year are considered abandoned property. Washington law requires employers to file a report with the Department of Revenue and send due diligence notices to employees who have unclaimed wages. Penalties are imposed for failure to report and remit unclaimed wages. See Unclaimed Wages.
- There are a number of local laws that certain employers must comply with in addition to state laws. Under the Seattle Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative, covered large hotel employers in Seattle must pay each low-wage employee who works full time at a large hotel additional wages or salary reflective of the cost of medical coverage. Under the Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance, a covered employer must comply with pay frequency, pay statement, notification and termination pay requirements. The Seattle Secure Scheduling Ordinance requires certain retail and food establishments to provide predictable schedules and related protections to employees. In addition, the Seattle Wage Theft Ordinance requires covered employers to provide certain written employment information to new hires, and to all employees any time that information changes. See Local Laws.