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Most employees working in Washington State are entitled to overtime pay. Overtime is owed to employees working more than 40 hours in a 7-day workweek. Since this is a protected right under the law, workers cannot waive their right to overtime.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries' (L&I) Employment Standards Program enforces the overtime law and provides resources for employers and employees to understand the regulations.

Employees entitled to overtime

  • Most hourly, piece rate, and commissioned employees
  • Some salaried employees. Contrary to popular belief, some salaried employees are entitled to overtime unless they meet a specific exemption under state law.
  • Employees working on prevailing wage jobs
  • Employees working in agriculture and dairy industries

Employees not entitled to overtime

  • Workers who do not meet the definition of “employee” under the Minimum Wage Act
  • White-collar workers who meet the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions as well as computer professionals and outside salespeople

Calculating overtime

Overtime pay must be at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly rate for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. This regular hourly rate cannot be less than state’s minimum wage. There are two steps to calculate overtime:

  • Determine an employee’s regular hourly rate
  • Multiply the regular hourly rate by 1.5 for every hour worked over 40 hours in a workweek

An employee’s regular hourly rate is calculated by:

  • Adding together their weekly compensation (not including overtime premiums and regardless of the method of payment e.g. hourly rate, piece rate, commission, etc.)
  • Dividing that by the total number of hours worked during the workweek

For more information on calculating overtime, see L&I’s Administrative Policy ES.A.8.2

Changes in overtime for agricultural workers

There was a significant change in overtime eligibility for agricultural and dairy workers. The 2021 legislative session resulted in the passage of Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5172, which expands overtime protections to all agricultural workers, including agricultural piece-rate workers. This new law went into effect on July 25, 2021.

Effective November 5, 2020, dairy workers are entitled to receive overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

For all other agricultural workers, the law establishes a three-year phase-in schedule, which gradually reduces the number of hours agricultural workers need to work in a workweek before they are entitled to overtime pay:

  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2022: 55 hours
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2023: 48 hours
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2024: 40 hours

You can learn more about changes in the law at L&I’s agricultural overtime web page.


Learn more about the overtime requirements and other relevant topics on L&I’s website.

If you believe you are owed overtime for hours you have worked, you can file a complaint with L&I.

You can register for a webinar on workplace rights at L&I’s calendar of workshops, events and webinars. Look for Employer Guide to Worker’s Rights” or “Know Your Worker Rights” in the “Event Title” pull-down menu.

L&I provides free webinars to individual organizations. To schedule a webinar, send your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you have questions, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. the Employment Standards customer service team or call 360-902-5316.



Friday, 10 June 2022