Washington Hours Worked




Hours worked

Washington minimum wage laws require employers to compensate employees for all hours worked. Hours worked is defined as all hours employers authorize or require employees to be on duty at the employers’ workplaces or at other prescribed work places. WA Admin. Code 296-126-002(8) Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries interprets hours worked to include all an employee requested, suffered, permitted, or allowed to work including all time the employer knows or has reason to know the employee is working. It also includes all preparatory time and concluding time. If an employer does not want employees to work, it is their responsibilities to ensure the employees are not working. Simply issuing a policy prohibiting employees from working at certain times is not alone sufficient to relieve employers from the obligation from pay employees for unwanted hours worked. WA Dept. of Labor & Industries, Employment Standards ““ Administrative Policy ES.C.2(1).





Workweek

Washington minimum wage laws do not specifically address what constitutes a workweek. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries define a workweek as a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours during seven consecutive 24-hour period. The workweek may begin at any hour on any calendar day. Once an employer establishes a workweek it generally must remain fixed. An employer may change the workweek if the change is meant to be permanent and not intended to evade overtime requirements. If an employer has not specifically established a workweek, the workweek defaults to Sunday through Saturday. WA Dept. of Labor and Industries Admin. Policy ES.A.8.1



Waiting time

Washington minimum wage laws do not specifically address when employers must count time spent by employees waiting as hours worked for purpose of its minimum wage and overtime requirements. Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries issued an administrative policy that defined waiting time as all time employees are required or authorized to report to a location at a designated time and to remain on the premises until they begin their shift. These employees are engaged to wait and the waiting time must be counted as hours worked. Additionally, employers must compensate employees for waiting time if employees are idle for a period of time during the work day through no fault of their own and the employees are not completely relieved of duty and may effectively use the time for their own purposes. WA Dept. of Labor & Industries, Employment Standards ““ Administrative Policy ES.C.2(6).



On-call time

Washington minimum wage laws do not specifically address when employers must pay count time employees are on-call as hours worked for purposes of it minimum wage and overtime requirements. Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries interprets the definition of hours worked to include time employees are on-call and are required to remain on or so close to the employer’s premises that they cannot use the time effectively for their own purposes. It does not interpret hours worked to include time employees are on-call if the employees are not required to stay on the employer’s premises, are only required to leave word with company officials where they can be reached, and are generally free to go where they choose and do what they want with the time. WA Dept. of Labor & Industries, Employment Standards ““ Administrative Policy ES.C.2(8).



Sleeping time

Washington minimum wage laws do not specifically address when an employer must count employee sleeping time as hours worked for purposes of their minimum wage and overtime requirements. The standards set forth in that law related to sleeping time may provide reasonable guidance.



Travel time

Washington minimum wage laws do not specifically address when employers must count employee travel time as hours worked for purpose of its minimum wage and overtime requirements. Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries issued an administrative policy addressing when employers must count employee travel in a company-provided vehicle as hours worked. It set forth four, non-exclusive factors to be considered when determining if an employee is on duty while traveling in a company-provided vehicle. They are:

  • the extent to which the employee is free to make personal stops and engage in personal activities during the drive time between home and the first or last job site of the day, or whether the vehicle may only be used for company business.
  • the extent to which the employee is required to respond to work related calls or to be redirected while en route.
  • whether the employee is required to maintain contact with the employer.
  • the extent to which the employee receives assignments at home and must spend time writing down the assignments and mapping the route to reach the first job site before beginning the drive.

It has also set forth three, non-exclusive factors to be considered when determining if employees are on the employer’s premises or at a prescribed work place when traveling in a company-provided vehicle:

  • The extent to which the employee receives assignments at home and must spend time writing down the assignments and mapping the route to reach the first job site before beginning the drive.
  • The extent to which the company-provided vehicle serves as a location where the employer authorizes or requires the employee to complete business required paperwork or load materials or equipment.
  • The extent to which the employer requires the employee to ensure that the vehicle is kept clean, organized, safe, and serviced.

According to the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, an employer is not required to count time spent by employees in ordinary travel between home and work in a company vehicle if the employees are not on duty and perform no work while traveling. Similarly, employers do not need to count employee travel time as hours worked when the employees voluntarily report to a designated location to ride as a passenger to a job site and is not on duty and performs no work while traveling. On the other hand, an employee’s travel as a driver or passenger from job site to job site during a workday should be counted as hours worked.

WA Dept. of Labor & Industries, Employment Standards ““ Administrative Policy ES.C.2(2).

Washington’s Department of Labor and Industry has not provided any other guidance related to when employers must count employee travel time as hours worked. The standards set forth by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act related to travel time may provide reasonable guidance.



Meeting, lecture, and training time

Washington minimum wage laws do not address when employers must count time spent by employees at meetings, lectures, and training as hours worked for its minimum wage and overtime requirements. Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries interprets the definition of hours worked to include all time employees attend meeting, lectures, and training except when all four of the following criteria are met:

  • attendance is voluntary;
  • employee does not performs any productive work during the meeting, lecture, or training;
  • the meeting, lecture, or training takes place outside of regular working hours;
  • the meeting, lecture, or training is not directly related to the employee’s current work, as distinguished from teaching the employee another job or a new, or additional, skill outside of skills necessary to perform job.

According to the Department of Labor and Industries, employers must count time spent by employees at meetings, lecture, or training as hours worked if the employees believe or are led to believe that their present working conditions or continued employment would be adversely affected by not attending. Additionally, employers are not generally required to compensate employees for attending training programs mandated by state or federal regulation, but not by the employer. Employers are also not required to compensate employees when they attend training that is of the type that would be offered by independent institutions that enables individuals to gain or continue employment with any employer which would require the employee to have the training. WA Dept. of Labor & Industries, Employment Standards ““ Administrative Policy ES.C.2(3).



Show up or reporting time

Washington minimum wage laws do not require employers to pay employees for reporting or showing up to work if no work is performed. An employer is also not required to pay an employee a minimum number of hours if the employer dismisses the employee from work prior to completing their scheduled shift. Employers are only required to pay employees for hours actually worked. WA Dept. of Labor & Industries, Employment Standards ““ Administrative Policy ES.C.2(7).