EDITOR’S NOTE: South King Media Founder/Publisher Scott Schaefer serves on the Board of Directors for the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce.
Small business owners and operators wear a lot of hats. Whether it’s serving customers, developing a marketing plan, managing employees, planning for growth – you name it – your hands are on it.
So, when it comes to state laws and rules that impact you as an employer, it can be hard to keep up with ever-changing labor laws and how to comply. That why we’ve partnered with the WA State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Small Business Office to provide the resources and info you need to stay up to date.
January 1, 2023 marked the effective date for some significant changes to WA employment law. We reached out to L&I’s Assistant Small Business Liaison, Andrew Bryan, to discuss some of the biggest changes impacting WA employers and how L&I’s small business team is here to help.
Pay Range in Job Postings
In 2022, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill requiring employers with 15 or more employees to include a salary range or pay scale in job postings, along with a description of benefits and other compensation. The law also impacts job transfers and promotions by requiring employers to provide the wage scale or salary range for the employee’s new position, at the employee’s request.
What does that mean for employers with 15 or more employees? Andrew points to the Equal Pay and Opportunities Act Employers Guide as a useful tool for employers seeking further guidance. “All employers with 15 or more employees are now required to include, in every job posting, a wage scale or salary range, a general description of all benefits, and a general description of other compensation,” says Andrew. “The range should extend from the lowest to the highest pay established by the employer prior to posting the job, and the range needs to be clear and without open-ended phrases, like, $50,000 and up,” he further clarifies.
L&I has created a Job Posting Requirements factsheet to assist employers with understanding these new requirements and to offer examples of job postings that would meet the new requirements.
While pay range in job postings for employers with 15 or more employees is the newest change to the Equal Pay and Opportunities Act, all employers are subject to most Equal Pay and Opportunities Act provisions. If you have questions about whether or not your business is in compliance, L&I offers a free consultation.
Minimum Wage Increases
State minimum wages increases went into effect on January 1, 2023. The statewide minimum wage is now $15.74 per hour. Of note, two Seattle Southside cities are impacted by local increases over the state minimum wage. In SeaTac, the minimum wage for certain industries is now $19.06 an hour. And Tukwila voters recently approved a ballot measure increasing the minimum wage for large employers to match SeaTac’s rate, effective July 2023. Additionally, smaller employers (those with 15-500 employees or annual gross revenue over $2 million) will see a phased in rate, starting at $17.06, effective July 2023.
“L&I has compiled a web page for employers in search of minimum wage resources including posters, employer requirements, and limited exemptions,” says Andrew. Still have questions? “That’s what the L&I Small Business Office is here for! Email us anytime and we can help.”
Overtime Exemption Base Salary Increase
Another new change now impacting employers is an increase to the overtime exemption threshold. Beginning January 1, 2023, the minimum salary thresholds for overtime exempt employees are as follows:
- Small employers (50 or fewer employees): $57,293.60per year ($1,101.80 per week).
- Large employers (51 or more employees): $65,478.40per year ($1,259.20 per week).
- Exempt computer professionals may be paid an hourly rate instead of a salary, which is 3.5 times the minimum wage, regardless of employer size: $55.09per hour.
“L&I has put together a Key Facts page for employers looking to better understand the new overtime exemption rules,” says Andrew. He continues, “it is also a great resource for small businesses, as it outlines how increases will be phased in over the coming years for smaller employers.”
L&I Small Business Team and Resources
It’s easy for small business owners and operators to feel overwhelmed by the broad range of regulations you need to comply with as an employer. And dealing with state agencies, our regulators and enforcers, can be daunting or even downright scary at times. But L&I’s Small Business team wants to remind you that your first – or second, or third – interaction with L&I doesn’t need to be a negative one. “L&I’s Small Business Office wants to help you comply with state rules. We know that as small business owners you have a lot on your plate, and we can help you quickly locate the info you need to take the guesswork out of it,” says Andrew.
That help includes quick links to some of the most frequent pain points for compliance, as well as workshops and trainings. “We highly recommend businesses take advantage of these trainings, especially our L&I Essentials for Business webinar,” says Andrew. “You might even hear me crack a dad joke, or ten, while we’re there!”
Your team at the Seattle Southside Chamber works closely with L&I to be sure our members are well informed and have access to the people and resources that will make your life just a little easier. Don’t hesitate to contact your Chamber team if you’re in need of resources or if you want us to connect you with the right subject matter expert at L&I, or any other state agency you are working with. Email us at [email protected] or visit our website here: https://www.seattlesouthsidechamber.com/.