Washington Minimum Wage and Overtime Exemptions




Executive exemption

Washington exempts bona fide executive employees from its minimum wage and overtime requirements. WA Code 49.46.010(3)(c) To qualify as an executive employee, an employee must:

  • perform primary duties consisting of the management of the enterprise in which he or she is employed or of a customarily recognized department or subdivision thereof;
  • customarily and regularly directs the work of two or more other employees;
  • have the authority to hire or fire other employees or whose suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring or firing and as to the advancement and promotion or any other change of status of other employees will be given particular weight;
  • customarily and regularly exercises discretionary powers;
  • devote no more than 20 percent, or, in the case of an employee of a retail or service establishment devote no more than 40 percent, of his or her hours worked in the workweek to activities which are not directly and closely related to the performance of the primary duties, except for an employee who is in sole charge of an independent establishment or a physically separated branch establishment, or who owns at least a 20 percent interest in the enterprise in which he is employed; and
  • be paid a salary of not less than $155 per week, exclusive of board, lodging, or other facilities.


Washington also exempts high salaried executive employees who:

  • are paid a salary of at least $250 per week, exclusive of board, lodging, or other facilities;
  • perform primary duties consisting of enterprise management or management of a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise; and
  • customarily and regularly direct the work of two or more other employees.

WA Admin. Code 296-128-510



Administrative exemption

Washington exempts bona fide administrative employees from its minimum wage and overtime requirements. WA Code 49.46.010(3)(c) To qualify as an administrative employee, an employee must:

  • perform primary duties consisting of:
    • the performance of office or nonmanual field work directly related to management policies or general business operations of his or her employer or his or her employer’s customers; or
    • the performance of functions in the administration of a school system, or educational establishment or institution, or of a department or subdivision thereof, in work directly related to the academic instruction or training carried on therein;
  • customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment;
  • perform work where he or she:
    • regularly and directly assists a proprietor, or an employee employed in a bona fide executive or administrative capacity, or
    • performs under only general supervision work along specialized or technical lines requiring special training, experience or knowledge, or
    • executes under only general supervision special assignments and tasks;
  • devote no more than 20 percent, or, in the case of an employee of a retail or service establishment devote no more than 40 percent, of his or her hours worked in the workweek to activities which are not directly and closely related to the performance of the primary duties, except for an employee who is in sole charge of an independent establishment or a physically separated branch establishment, or who owns at least a 20 percent interest in the enterprise in which he is employed; and
  • be compensated:
    • on a salary or fee basis at a rate of not less than $155 per week exclusive of board, lodging, or other facilities; or
    • in the case of academic administrative personnel, be compensated either on salary or fee basis at a rate of not less than $155 per week exclusive of board, lodging, or other facilities or on a salary basis which is at least equal to the entrance salary for teachers in the school system, educational establishment, or institution by which he is employed;
    • provided that an employee who is compensated on a salary or fee basis at a rate of not less than $250 per week, exclusive of board, lodging or other facilities and whose primary duty consists of the performance of work described above, which includes work requiring the exercise of discretion and independent judgment, shall be deemed to meet all of the requirements of this section.

WA Admin. Code 296-128-520



Professional exemption

Washington exempts bona fide professional employees from its minimum wage and overtime requirements. WA Code 49.46.010(3)(c) To qualify as a professional employee, an employee must:

  • perform primary duties consisting of:
    • performing work requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study, as distinguished from a general academic education and from an apprenticeship, and from training in the performance of routine mental, manual, or physical processes, or
    • performing work which is original and creative in character in a recognized field of artistic endeavor, as opposed to work which can be produced by a person endowed with general manual or intellectual ability and training, and the result of which depends primarily on the intention, imagination, or talent of the employee; or
    • teaching, tutoring, instructing, or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge and who is employed and engaged in this activity as a teacher in the school system or educational establishment or institution by which he is employed;
  • perform work that requires the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its performance;
  • perform work that is predominantly intellectual and varied in character (as opposed to routine mental, manual, mechanical or physical work) and is of such a character that the output produced or the result accomplished cannot be standardized in relation to a given period of time;
  • devote no more than 20 percent of his or her hours worked in the work week to activities which are not an essential part of and necessarily incident to the primary duties; and
  • be paid on a salary or fee basis at a rate of not less than $170 per week exclusive of board, lodging, or facilities, except for employees who hold a valid license or certificate permitting the practice of law, medicine, or dentistry and who is actually engaged in the practice thereof, and provided that an employee who is compensated on a salary or fee basis at a rate of not less than $250 per week (exclusive of board, lodging, or other facilities), and whose primary duty consists of the performance of work either requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning, which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment, or requiring invention, imagination, or talent in a recognized field of artistic endeavor, shall be deemed to meet all of the requirements of this section.

WA Admin. Code 296-128-520



Outside salesman exemption

Washington exempts outside salesmen from its minimum wage and overtime requirements. WA Code 49.46.010(3)(c) To qualify as an outside salesman, an employee must:

  • customarily and regularly work away from his or her employer’s place or places of business, as well as on the premises (where the employee regulates his or her own hours and the employer has no control over the total number of hours worked) in one of the following alternative activities:
    • making sales, including any sale, exchange, contract to sell, consignment for sale, shipment for sale or other disposition;
    • obtaining orders or contracts for services or for the use of facilities for which a consideration will be paid by the client or customer;
    • demonstrating products or equipment for sale; or
    • selling services and performing service sold when the compensation to the employee is computed on a commission basis;
  • spend no more than 20 percent of his or her worked in the work week performing non-sales work, which does not include work that is performed incidental to and in conjunction with the employee’s own outside sales or solicitations, including incidental deliveries and collections; and
  • be paid by the employer on a guaranteed salary, commission or fee basis; and
  • be advised by his or her employer of his or her status as an outside salesman.

WA Admin. Code 296-128-540



Computer employee exemption

Washington considers computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, or other similarly skilled workers to be exempt professional employees if the following criteria are met:

  • they perform one of the following as a primary duty:
    • applying systems analysis techniques and procedures to determine hardware, software, or system functional specifications for any user of such services;
    • following user or system design specifications to design, develop, document, analyze, create, test or modify any computer system, application or program, including prototypes;
    • designing, documenting, testing, creating or modifying computer systems, applications or programs for machine operation systems;
    • any combination of the above primary duties whose performance requires the same skill level;
  • they are paid a rate of pay that is at least $27.63 per hour;
  • they are a highly skilled employees who:
    • possess a high degree of theoretical knowledge and understanding of computer system analysis, programming, and software engineering (no degree is required);
    • have the ability to practically apply that theoretical knowledge and understanding to highly specialized computer fields;
    • generally attain the necessary level of expertise and skill to qualify for an exemption through a combination of education and experience in the field;
    • consistently exercise discretion and judgment in the application of their special knowledge as opposed to performing purely mechanical or routine tasks; and
    • engage in work that is predominantly intellectual and inherently varied in character as opposed to work that is routinely mental, manual, mechanical, or physical.

WA Admin. Code 296-128-535



Other minimum wage and overtime exemptions

Washington exempts the following from its overtime requirements only. Employers would be required to meet any minimum wage requirements for these employees:

  • any person employed as a hand harvest laborer and paid on a piece rate basis in an operation which has been, and is generally and customarily recognized as having been, paid on a piece rate basis in the region of employment; and who commutes daily from his or her permanent residence to the farm on which he or she is employed; and who has been employed in agriculture less than thirteen weeks during the preceding calendar year;
  • any person employed in casual labor in or about a private home, unless performed in the course of the employer’s trade, business, or profession;
  • any person engaged in the activities of an educational, charitable, religious, state or local governmental body or agency, or nonprofit organization where the employer
  • employee relationship does not in fact exist or where the services are rendered to such organizations gratuitously. If the individual receives reimbursement in lieu of compensation for normally incurred out of pocket expenses or receives a nominal amount of compensation per unit of voluntary service rendered, an employer-employee relationship is deemed not to exist for the purpose of this section or for purposes of membership or qualification in any state, local government, or publicly supported retirement system other than that provided under WA Code 41.24;
  • any person employed full time by any state or local governmental body or agency who provides voluntary services but only with regard to the provision of the voluntary services. The voluntary services and any compensation therefor shall not affect or add to qualification, entitlement, or benefit rights under any state, local government, or publicly supported retirement system other than that provided under WA Code 41.24;
  • any newspaper vendor, carrier, or delivery person selling or distributing newspapers on the street, to offices, to businesses, or from house to house and any freelance news correspondent or “stringer” who, using his or her own equipment, chooses to submit material for publication for free or a fee when such material is published;
  • any carrier subject to regulation by Part 1 of the Interstate Commerce Act;
  • any person working in the activities of forest protection and fire prevention;
  • any person employed by any charitable institution charged with the responsibilities of child care engaged primarily in the development of character or citizenship or promoting health or physical fitness or providing or sponsoring recreational opportunities or facilities for young people or members of the armed forces of the United States;
  • any person whose duties require that he or she reside or sleep at the place of his or her employment or who otherwise spends a substantial portion of his or her work time subject to call, and not engaged in the performance of active duties;
  • any resident, inmate, or patient of a state, county, or municipal correctional, detention, treatment or rehabilitative institution;
  • any person who holds a public elective or appointive office of the state, any county, city, town, municipal corporation or quasi municipal corporation, political subdivision, or any instrumentality thereof, or any employee of the state legislature;
  • all vessel operating crews of the Washington state ferries operated by the department of transportation;
  • any person employed as a seaman on a vessel other than an American vessel.

WA Code 49.46.010


 

Overtime only exemptions

Washington exempts the following employees from its overtime requirements only. Employers are required to comply with any minimum wage obligations for the employees:

  • employees who request compensating time off in lieu of overtime pay;
  • any individual employed as a seaman whether or not the seaman is employed on a vessel other than an American vessel;
  • seasonal employees who are employed at concessions and recreational establishments at agricultural fairs, including those seasonal employees employed by agricultural fairs, within the state provided that the period of employment for any seasonal employee at any or all agricultural fairs does not exceed fourteen working days a year;
  • any individual employed as a motion picture projectionist if that employee is covered by a contract or collective bargaining agreement which regulates hours of work and overtime pay;
  • an individual employed as a truck or bus driver who is subject to the provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Act (49 U.S.C. Sec. 3101 et seq. and 49 U.S.C. Sec. 10101 et seq.), if the compensation system under which the truck or bus driver is paid includes overtime pay, reasonably equivalent to that required by this subsection, for working longer than forty hours per week;
  • any individual employed (i) on a farm, in the employ of any person, in connection with the cultivation of the soil, or in connection with raising or harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodity, including raising, shearing, feeding, caring for, training, and management of livestock, bees, poultry, and furbearing animals and wildlife, or in the employ of the owner or tenant or other operator of a farm in connection with the operation, management, conservation, improvement, or maintenance of such farm and its tools and equipment; or (ii) in packing, packaging, grading, storing or delivering to storage, or to market or to a carrier for transportation to market, any agricultural or horticultural commodity; or (iii) commercial canning, commercial freezing, or any other commercial processing, or with respect to services performed in connection with the cultivation, raising, harvesting, and processing of oysters or in connection with any agricultural or horticultural commodity after its delivery to a terminal market for distribution for consumption;
  • any industry in which federal law provides for an overtime payment based on a work week other than forty hours. However, the provisions of the federal law regarding overtime payment based on a work week other than forty hours shall nevertheless apply to employees covered by this section without regard to the existence of actual federal jurisdiction over the industrial activity of the particular employer within this state. For the purposes of this subsection, “industry” means a trade, business, industry, or other activity, or branch, or group thereof, in which individuals are gainfully employed (section 3(h) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended (Public Law 93-259));
  • any hours worked by an employee of a carrier by air subject to the provisions of subchapter II of the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. Sec. 181 et seq.), when such hours are voluntarily worked by the employee pursuant to a shift-trading practice under which the employee has the opportunity in the same or in other work weeks to reduce hours worked by voluntarily offering a shift for trade or reassignment;
  • any individual licensed under chapter WA Code 18.85 unless the individual is providing real estate brokerage services under a written contract with a real estate firm which provides that the individual is an employee. For purposes of this subsection (2)(j), “real estate brokerage services” and “real estate firm” mean the same as defined in WA Code 18.85.011;
  • any employee of a retail or service establishment for a work week in excess of the applicable workweek if:
    • the regular rate of pay of the employee is in excess of one and one-half times the minimum hourly rate required under WA Code 49.46.020; and
    • more than half of the employee’s compensation for a representative period, of not less than one month, represents commissions on goods or services. (In determining the proportion of compensation representing commissions, all earnings resulting from the application of a bona fide commission rate is to be deemed commissions on goods or services without regard to whether the computed commissions exceed the draw or guarantee);
  • commissioned salespeople primarily engaged in the business of selling automobiles, trucks, recreational vessels, recreational vessel trailers, recreational vehicle trailers, recreational campers, manufactured housing, or farm implements to ultimate purchasers if the commissioned salespeople are paid the greater of:
    • compensation at the hourly rate, which may not be less than the rate required under WA Code 49.46.020, for each hour worked up to forty hours per week, and compensation of one and one-half times that hourly rate for all hours worked over forty hours in one week; or
    • a straight commission, a salary plus commission, or a salary plus bonus applied to gross salary.
    • employees working for a public agency in fire protection activities or any employee in law enforcement activities (including security personnel in correctional institutions) if:
      • in a work period of twenty-eight consecutive days the employee receives for tours of duty which in the aggregate exceed two hundred forty hours; or
      • in the case of such an employee to whom a work period of at least seven but less than twenty-eight days applies, in his or her work period the employee receives for tours of duty which in the aggregate exceed a number of hours which bears the same ratio to the number of consecutive days in his or her work period as two hundred forty hours bears to twenty-eight days; compensation at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate at which he or she is employed.

    WA Code 49.46.130