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January 1, 2022: Minimum Wage & Overtime Exemption Thresholds are Rising

Posted Dec 20, 2021 12:36 PM
For WA-based organizations, be sure that you stay legally compliant and implement the new minimum wage on January 1. You also need to check to see if you have exempt staff that qualify for overtime because their pay is below the new threshold.

Minimum wage increase

Washington State’s minimum wage, which is higher than the national minimum wage, is going up to $14.49 in 2022. In addition to implementing this change, evaluate the salaries of employees at the next level above the minimum wage too, so that you do not lose the spread between minimum wage and those salary levels.

The cities of Seattle and SeaTac have approved minimum wage levels above the state level. SeaTac's minimum levels apply only to hospitality and transportation workers. Seattle’s minimum wage for 2022 is:

  • For large employers (501+ employees), the rate is $17.27
  • For smaller employers (500 or fewer employees):
    • If the employer does not pay for medical benefits, the rate is $17.27 in 2022.
    • If the employer pays for medical benefits, the rate is $15.75 in 2022.

More resources:

Overtime threshold increases

Overtime pay equaling at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly rate must be paid to any non-salaried employee who works more than 40 hours in a 7-day workweek. Recent changes to the Washington State overtime rules mean that employers must also pay overtime to salaried employees unless their wages are above the following thresholds:

  • 2021 – Employers by size
    • Under 50 employees: $821.40/week ($42,712.80/year)
    • 50+ employees: $958.30/week ($49,831.60/year)
  • 2022 – Employers of all sizes: $1,014.30/week ($52,743.60/year)

Depending on the employee’s role and the need for overtime work, employers may find it beneficial to increase salaried employees’ pay above the threshold. See further resources: