Washington’s Threshold for Overtime Exempt Employees Rises in 2021

On January 1, 2021, the Washington state minimum wage increased from $13.50 to $13.69 per hour.  The state’s pay thresholds for overtime exempt workers also changed to the following:

Minimum Salary Thresholds for Overtime Exempt Workers

Effective January 1, 2021

Small Employers

with 1-50 employees

$821.40 per week

($42,712.80 per year)

Large Employers

with 51+ Employees

$958.30 per week

($49,831.60 per year)

The rules are slightly different for computer professionals paid by the hour (See table here).  For purposes of determining the applicable salary threshold, the size of the employer is based solely on the number of Washington-based employees it employs at the time of the effective date of the salary threshold (i.e., January 1 of the calendar year).

The same thresholds apply to part time employees – the thresholds are not prorated for employees who are less than full time.  Under the current rules, the salary thresholds will be automatically adjusted upwards each year on January 1 based on the state’s minimum wage in effect at that time.

The new salary thresholds do not apply to outside salespersons.  However, the overtime exemption rules still require that outside salespersons be paid on a salary, fee, or commission basis.

These are significant increases that push the state’s salary threshold level above the federal threshold for the first time in Washington State history.  We recommend employers review the status of all employees that are currently treated as exempt to confirm the employees still satisfy the applicable salary thresholds.  If you have any questions about this information, please contact Sara Campbell.