New rules under the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) have taken effect July 1 regarding updates to overtime pay and worker eligibility.

WA L&I announced the changed late last year after numerous public hearings and proceedings, and the new rules establish the criteria for certain workers to be considered exempt from receiving overtime pay and other protections under the State Minimum Wage Act.

Employers must consider the new “job duties test” when determining whether a worker is considered executive, administrative, professional, computer professional or outside salespeople. Workers may fit into these categories based on the duties they perform and earn more than the required salary threshold and may be considered exempt.

Beginning July 1, the state will use a single test aligned more closely with federal standards when determining exemption from overtime. The test for each exemption spells out what duties an employee must perform to be classified as exempt, regardless of the employee’s job title or job description.

A new base salary threshold will also be increasing under the rule changes, in which the threshold will increase incrementally until it reaches 2.5 times the minimum wage in 2028. However, the change will not impact most salaries workers this year, as Washington employers may continue to follow the federal standard of a salaried worker earning at least $684 per week through the end of 2020. But starting January 1, 2021, employers in Washington will need to meet the new state threshold.

All Washington employers should educate themselves on these rule changes by finding information on the L&I overtime rulemaking website and also read through the Q&A page.

For assistance with job classification audits, contact an HR consultant at JB Consulting Systems at