Washington Wage Payment Laws
- Frequency of wage payments
- Manner of wage payments
- Direct deposit
- Payment upon separation from employment
- Wage in dispute
- Deductions from wages
- Uniforms, tools, and other equipment necessary for employment
- Pre-hire medical, physical, or drug tests
- Notice of wage reduction
- Statement of wages (pay stubs)
- Record keeping requirements
- Notice requirements
Frequency of Wage Payments
An employer must pay employees at least once per month on established paydays. An employer must pay employees within 10 days of the end of a pay period. These requirements may be altered by a collective bargaining agreement. If an employer is unable to determine the overtime wages due by the established payday, the employer must pay the wages as soon as the overtime can be determined. WA Admin. Code 296-126-023; WA Admin. Code 296-128-035; WA Admin. Code 296-131-010
Manner of Wage Payments
An employer may pay an employee by:
- check convertible into cash on demand at full face value, and
- by direct deposit, so long as there is no cost to the employee.
An employer may require an employee to participate in direct deposit as long as there is no cost to the employee. WA Dept. of Labor and Industry FAQ
Payment upon Separation from Employment
An employer must pay an employee who is discharged or terminated, who quits or resigns, or who is laid off, by the end of the established pay period. This requirement may be altered by a collective bargaining agreement. Washington Code 49.48.010
Employees who are suspended or resigns due to a labor dispute (strike)
Washington has no law regarding when an employer must pay an employee who has resigned due to a labor dispute. Presumably, an employer would pay an employee who resigns employment due to a labor dispute by the end of the established pay period.
Wages in Dispute
Washington does not have any laws requiring an employer to pay an employee wages conceded to be due when involved in a wage dispute with the employee.
Deductions from Wages
An employer may make the following deductions only from an employee’s final paycheck and they only may be applied to incidents in the final pay period and may not be saved up from previous pay periods to be deducted from final check. Also, they may not reduce the employee’s final check below the applicable minimum wage, even if the business makes such an agreement with the worker. The business has the burden of proving that workers were informed of company policies regarding these deductions.
- Cash shortage in the till only if the business has established policies regarding cash acceptance, and if the worker has counted money in the till before and after shift and has sole access to the till during his/her shift.
- Breakage, loss or damage of equipment if it can be shown to have been caused by the worker’s dishonest or willful act.
- “Bad checks” (NSF) or credit cards purchases accepted by the worker if the business has established check and credit card acceptance policies before the event.
- Worker theft only if the business can show that the worker’s act was dishonest or willful, and if the business filed a police report.
- Other agreements made orally or in writing between the worker and business at the time of termination.
An employer may make the following deduction from an employee’s wages at any time during employment. These deductions may reduce the employee’s wage below the minimum wage in effect at the time of the deductions. During ongoing employment, the worker and employer must agree to the deduction in advance and in writing. Deductions from a final paycheck require an oral or written agreement:
- Required state and federal taxes, including the worker’s share of workers’ compensation premiums.
- When a worker agrees in advance to a deduction that is to his/her benefit. Examples: personal loans, personal purchases of business”™s food, equipment, services, or purchase of items the business sells to the public, for the amount to bail worker out of jail, for worker health and dental insurance payments or co-payments, etc. The deduction may not cause the business to benefit financially other than reasonable interest included in the agreement.
- Medical, surgical, or hospital care or service when the business pays for the worker”™s medical, surgical, or hospital care or service and the worker agrees to deductions from wages to repay those costs to the business. For example: An employer and employee agree that the employer will pay hospital costs for an employee who has no insurance and the employee agrees to specific deductions from wages to repay the employer until the debt is repaid.
- Court-ordered garnishments including those for child support.
Uniforms, Tools, and Other Equipment Necessary for Employment
An employee and employer may agree orally or in writing that the employer may deduct the cost of uniforms provided by the employer if the uniforms are not returned by the employee at the time of termination. This type of deduction cannot reduce the employee’s wage below the state minimum wage. WA Admin. Code 296-126-025
Pre-hire Medical, Physical, or Drug Tests
Washington does not have any laws prohibiting an employer from requiring an applicant or employee to pay the cost of a medical examination or the cost of furnishing any records required by the employer as a condition of employment.
Notice of Wage Reduction
Washington does not have any laws addressing when or how an employer may reduce an employees wages or whether an employer must provide employees notice prior to instituting a wage reduction. Any wage reduction can only be applied to hours worked after the change and cannot be applied to hours already worked.
Statement of Wages (Pay Stub)
An employer must furnish to each employee at the time of payment of wages an itemized statement showing the pay basis (i.e., hours or days worked), rate or rates of pay, gross wages and all deductions for that pay period. WA Admin. Code 296-126-040
Record Keeping Requirements
An employer must keep for at least three (3) years a record of:
- the name, address, and occupation of each employee,
- dates of employment,
- rate or rates of pay,
- amount paid each pay period to each such employee and
- the hours worked.
Washington does not have any laws requiring employers to provide employees notice of wage rates, dates of pay, employment policies, fringe benefits, or other terms and conditions of employment.