Q:

What are your rights and responsibilities as an employee in Washington state?

A:

Quick Answer

Washington state rights for employees include the right to minimum wage, overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and family and medical leave time, according to WashingtonLawHelp.org. Not all employees receive all rights. For example, professional and administrative staff do not have the right to overtime pay. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries provides comprehensible listings of employee rights on LNI.WA.gov.

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Full Answer

Washington state employee rights begin prior to employment, with certain interview questions on hiring decision criteria being prohibited, according to WashingtonLawHelp.org. It is illegal for an employer to differentiate between employees on the basis of their age, sex, race, marital status, disability or interest in joining a union. However, it is only illegal in some parts of Washington to discriminate based on sexual orientation, as of November 2015.

Once hired, employees are entitled to a state minimum wage of $9.47 in 2015, or $8.05 if under the age of 16. The state adjusts this rate every year based on inflation, explains WashingtonLawHelp.org. Employers must pay their staff for time spent benefiting the employer, regardless of whether it is a regular activity. This includes training and travel between work locations. However, employees are responsible for the time spent commuting to work each day.

Employers must also pay wages at least once per month, states WashingtonLawHelp.org. Employees who quit or whose employers terminate them are responsible for waiting until the next regular pay day to receive their earnings. Employers are responsible for deducting certain amounts, such as Social Security, from employees' wages, but may not deduct costs for breakage or lost equipment unless it is the result of dishonest or intentional actions.

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