Changes in the minimum wage, overtime for white-collar professionals, and workers’ compensation premiums took effect January 1, 2022.
The Minimum Wage
The state’s minimum wage increased to $14.49 per hour effective January 1, 2022. It’s based on a 5.83 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics attributed the increase to more expensive gas, housing, household furnishings, and food.
The state minimum wage applies to workers age 16 and older. Under state law, employers may pay 85 percent of the minimum wage to workers ages 14-15. For 2022, the wage for that younger age group will be $12.32 per hour.
Cities are able to set minimum wages higher than the state’s. Both Seattle and SeaTac have higher wages.
The minimum salary an employee must earn to be considered overtime-exempt also rose on January 1. This covers “white collar” positions held by executive, administrative, and professional workers. It also includes computer professionals and outside salespeople.
Among the requirements to be exempt from the state Minimum Wage Act, salaried employees must meet the job duties test and earn at least a minimum salary of $1,014.30 a week ($52,743.60 a year). That rate is 1.75 times the minimum wage.
Workers’ Comp Premiums
The average workers’ compensation premium rate for hours worked in 2022 will go up 3.1 percent effective January 1, 2022.