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Washington overhauls overtime rules for first time since 1970s

Hundreds of thousands of Washington workers will become eligible for overtime over the next eight years.

Washington has approved an overhaul of overtime regulations for the first time since 1976.

The state Department of Labor and Industries announced the new rules Wednesday, which will go into effect July 1. The department estimates about 259,000 more workers will be eligible for overtime when the rules are fully implemented by 2028, and about 235,000 additional workers will have overtime protections strengthened.

“These updates to the state overtime rules are a big step toward ensuring Washington workers are treated fairly and properly paid for the work they perform,” Labor and Industries Director Joel Sacks said in a statement. “This decision corrects a wrong, and is long overdue.”

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Starting in July, Washington’s minimum salary threshold to be exempt from overtime will increase from $250 per week ($13,000 per year) to $675 a week ($35,100 a year). The new threshold is 1.5 times the state minimum wage.

That threshold will increase until 2028 when it reaches about $1,603 a week (about $83,356 a year), which is 2.5 times the state minimum wage.

After 2028, the threshold will rise when the minimum wage increases with inflation.

Washington’s new overtime rules also change the state’s job duties tests to determine which employees are exempt from overtime, making them more in line with federal standards. To be exempt from overtime, workers must have a fixed salary, perform certain duties, and make more money than the threshold.

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Federal thresholds for overtime exemptions are currently higher than Washington’s and will remain higher until 2021. Until then, Washington will be required to adhere to the higher federal threshold.

New federal overtime rules go into effect in January raising overtime thresholds to $684 per week.

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