Washington: No Separate Rate for Non-Piece Work Time


All Employers of WA Employees


September 5, 2019


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In Sampson v. Knight Transp., Inc., the Washington Supreme Court told a federal district court that the Washington Minimum Wage Act (MWA) does not require non-agricultural employers to pay piece-rate employees per hour for time spent performing activities outside of piece-rate work. As long as employee total wages for the week do not fall below the statutory minimum wage for each hour worked, the employer is in compliance with the MWA.

There, commercial truck drivers were paid a piece rate either based on driving distance or per round trip, but claimed they were not paid for on-duty time spent not driving. The piece rate was intended to cover non-driving duties. However, employees also received extra pay for additional duties, like waiting long periods and assisting with loading and unloading.

The court stated that employers can measure compliance with the MWA by dividing an employee’s total wages earned during a workweek by the total hours worked. If the calculation falls below the minimum wage requirement, employers must increase that week’s pay to meet the statutory requirements.

Action Items

  1. Review piece rate pay procedures for compliance.
  2. Have payroll administrators trained on calculating minimum wage rates to ensure compliance with the MWA.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2019 ManagEase

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