Overtime Wages

Federal law and Washington law require employers to pay non-exempt workers at least one-and-one-half times the workers' regular rate of pay for all time worked after the first 40 hours in a week. The question, then, is: "Who is non-exempt?"

All workers are entitled to overtime pay under federal law unless they are exempt. Some of the federal exemptions are:

1. Agricultural Industry-Related Exemptions
a. Certain workers employed by a small agricultural employer or by a grain elevator operator.
b. Certain workers employed in the range production of livestock, the cotton production industry, the cotton ginning industry, the sugar beet production industry, the maple syrup production industry, the small-firm lumber production industry, the fishing and seafood production industries or tobacco auctions.
c. Certain agricultural workers who are family members.
d. Certain hand-harvest laborers paid on a piece-rate basis.
e. Certain workers who are outside buyers of dairy products.
f. Certain workers involved in transporting fruits and vegetables.
g. Certain workers involved in creating and maintaining irrigation canals, ditches, etc.

2. White-Collar Worker Exemptions
a. Certain workers employed in an executive capacity.
b. Certain workers employed in an administrative capacity.
c. Certain workers employed in a professional capacity.
d. Certain workers employed as academic administrative workers.
e. Certain workers employed as teachers by a school.
f. Certain workers employed as outside salespersons.
g. Certain workers employed in the computer science and/or information technology industries.

3. Transportation Industry-Related Exemptions
a. Certain workers employed by an airline or a railroad.
b. Certain workers employed as a driver subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Act (FMCA), as a seaman, as a local delivery driver, as a newspaper carrier or as a taxicab operator.

4. Government Worker Exemptions
a. Certain workers employed as a border patrol agent, a criminal investigator, a firefighter on 7- to 28-day shifts or a law enforcement officer on 7- to 28-day shifts.

5. Retail and Sales-Related Exemptions
a. Certain workers employed by a retail or service establishment if the worker's commissions make up more than half of the worker's wages and the worker earns on average more than one and a half times the minimum wage for all hours worked.
b. Certain workers employed as salesmen or service technicians by a car, truck or farm implement sales lot.

6. Miscellaneous Exemptions
a. Certain workers employed by "summer" camps or similar employers, a small newspaper or by a movie theater.
b. Certain workers employed as a switchboard operator, or workers providing domestic services as radio or television announcers or news editors in a large city.
c. Certain workers who receive compensatory time off instead of overtime pay.

There are other federal exemptions, and it is always wise to contact a lawyer if you have questions about your exempt/non-exempt status. Call employment attorney Adam Pechtel in Kennewick, WA if you have questions about your status: (509) 586-3091.

Even if a worker is exempt from overtime payments under federal law, she may still be entitled to overtime pay under Washington's overtime law. All workers are entitled to overtime pay under Washington's law unless they are exempt. Some of the state exemptions are:

7. Agricultural Industry-Related Exemptions
a. Certain workers employed on a farm, at an agricultural fair or by an agricultural fair.
b. Certain workers employed in cultivating the soil, raising any agricultural commodity (including livestock), harvesting any agricultural commodity (include livestock), preparing agricultural productions for shipping to market, processing agricultural products after delivery (commercial canning).
c. Certain hand-harvest laborers paid on a piece-rate basis.
d. Certain workers employed as interns on small farms.

8. White-Collar Worker Exemptions
a. Certain workers employed in an administrative capacity (requires work to be related to management policies or general business operations).
b. Certain workers employed in an executive capacity.
c. Certain workers employed in a professional capacity (requires an advanced education).
d. Certain workers employed as outside salespersons.

9. Transportation Industry-Related Exemptions
a. Certain workers employed by an airline, railroad or a pipeline (non-water).
b. Certain workers employed as a driver subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Act (FMCA), a seaman or a crew member of a Washington State ferry.

10. Government Worker Exemptions
a. Certain workers who are elected officials or political appointees.
b. Certain workers employed as an elected official, a political appointee, a firefighter on a 7- to 28-day shift or a law enforcement officer on a 7- to 28-day shift.
c. Certain workers providing forest protection and fire prevention services.
d. Certain volunteers for government service (volunteer firefighters).

11. Retail and Sales-Related Exemptions
a. Certain workers employed in selling cars and other vehicles and paid commissions.
b. Certain workers employed as a commissioned car (or other vehicle) salesman, a newspaper salesman, freelance writer, real estate broker.
c. Certain workers employed by a retail or service employer if commissions make up more than half of the worker's wages and the worker earns more than one and a half times the minimum wage on average.

12. Miscellaneous Exemptions
a. Certain workers providing casual labor around the home or domestic services (babysitting).
b. Certain participants, such as a contracted movie theater projectionist or a junior ice-hockey player.
c. Certain workers employed by a charity in providing child care to develop character, citizenship, health or physical fitness.
d. Certain volunteers if they truly are not employees.
e. Certain employees who receive compensatory time off instead of overtime pay.
f. Certain workers who must live or sleep at their workplace.
g. Certain workers who spend a substantial amount of time on-call.

There are other state exemptions and it is always wise to contact a lawyer if you have questions about your exempt/non-exempt status. Call Kennewick, WA's Adam Pechtel if you have questions about your status: (509) 586-3091.