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If you're running a business in Washington, it's crucial to understand pay stub requirements for employees and contractors.

This guide outlines the relevant laws and regulations to help you stay compliant.


Pay stub regulations in Washington

1. Are pay stubs required by law in Washington?

Employers in Washington must provide their employees with pay stubs every payday.

2. How often do you need a pay stub in Washington?

You will need to pay your employees on a monthly basis. As pay stubs are mandatory in Washington, you will need to provide pay stubs every time you pay your employees.

3. What information can be included on a pay stub in Washington?

The following information must be included in employee pay stubs:

  • The pay basis (e.g., hours or days worked, piece rate basis, or salary)
  • Rate or rates of pay
  • Gross wages
  • All deductions for the pay period
  • All records required for paid sick leave

4. Does Washington have a state income tax?

No, state income taxes are not applicable to employees in the state of Washington.

5. Are there any other taxes applicable to Washington?

No. There are no local taxes in addition to federal income taxes applicable to employees in the state of Washington.

Information needed to generate pay stubs

To provide employees with accurate pay stubs, the information below is required.

  • The employee's applicable status for Washington paid family and medical leave and Washington industrial insurance
  • LNI rate

Washington wage and hour laws

Under Washington wage and hour statutes, employers are obliged to provide non-exempt employees with minimum wage, overtime pay, meal, and rest intervals, and accrued paid time-off benefits.

Law regulates the following aspects:

  • Minimum wage
  • Overtime pay
  • Meal breaks
  • Rest breaks
  • Paid time off and leave

Minimum wage

Washington law requires employers to pay employees at least the specified minimum hourly wage as mandated by legislation.

The minimum wage per hour in Washington will be $16.28 in 2024.

Overtime Pay

In Washington state, overtime pay is mandated as 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a week.

The regular hourly rate must not fall below the state's minimum wage.

To calculate overtime, employers follow two steps: first, determine the employee's regular hourly rate, then multiply it by 1.5 for each hour over 40 in a week.

Washington law doesn't require overtime for hours worked beyond 8 in a day.

Meal breaks

All employees are entitled to a meal period lasting at least 30 minutes for every 5 hours worked. If their workday exceeds 11 hours, they must have an additional 30-minute meal period.

Meal periods are unpaid, provided employees are completely relieved of duties. Employers are responsible for ensuring that workers receive their meal periods.

Rest break

All employees are entitled to a paid rest period of at least 10 minutes for every 4 hours worked, during which they are relieved of duties. This right to paid rest breaks cannot be waived by either the worker or the employer.

Paid time off and leave

Employers in Washington are required to provide employees with both mandatory and optional leave benefits.

Required LeaveNon-Required leave
paidUnpaidPaid or Unpaid
The Paid Family and Medical Leave program, overseen by the Employment Security Department, provides most employees in Washington with up to 12 weeks of paid leave. Eligibility requires working a minimum of 820 hours (approximately 16 hours per week) during the qualifying period, which spans 12-18 months before the leave application date.Military leaveVacation leave
Employees earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.Jury Duty leaveBereavement leave
Holiday leave
Voting leave

Washington state payroll taxes 2024

In Washington, payroll taxes are categorized as:

  • Washington State Unemployment Tax (UI)
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Tax
  • Premiums for state workers' compensation insurance

Washington State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)

The State Unemployment Tax Act (SUTA) was established to aid individuals facing unemployment by furnishing them with unemployment benefits. This program enables states to amass funds, which are subsequently allocated for the provision of unemployment insurance benefits to those who are jobless.

SUTA rates range from 1.25% to 8.15% in 2024

The taxable wage base is $68,500 in 2024

Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFL) Tax

Beginning January 1, 2024:
  • The total premium rate will reduce to 0.74%.
  • Employers will cover 28.57% of the total premium, while employees will contribute 71.43%.
  • Businesses categorized by the Employment Security Department as having fewer than 50 employees for the 2024 calendar year are exempt from paying the employer portion of the premium. However, they must still collect the employee premium or cover employees’ premiums on their behalf.

Premiums for state workers' compensation insurance

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has approved a 4.9 percent rise in the average worker's compensation premium rate for 2024. Effective January 1, 2024, this increase signifies that employers and employees collectively will bear an average additional cost of $65 per year in workers' compensation insurance premiums for each full-time employee. Similar to the previous year, workers will cover approximately a quarter of the premium.

Washington tax filing

Report of New Employees

In Washington, employers are required to report new hires to the Washington New Hire Reporting Center within 20 days of their start date of employment. This can be accomplished by submitting Form W-4.

How to report employees' new hire in Washington?

You can use any of the following options to report new hiring.

Washington New Hire Reporting CenterAddress Information:
P.O. Box 9023
Olympia, WA 98507
Public Phone: 800-562-0479
Email: dcshire@dshs.wa.gov
Fax 1: 800-782-0624

Report of Independent Contractors

Washington employers are not obligated to report independent contractors.

Filing a Quarterly tax and wage Report( WA 5208A, 5208B )

If you employ workers in Washington, you're likely responsible for paying unemployment taxes on their wages in the state. Tax reports or combined tax and wage reports are required quarterly. Responsible employers must file a tax report every quarter, regardless of whether there were any paid employees during that period or if taxes couldn't be paid.

Reporting PeriodDue Date
Quarter 1April 30
Quarter 2July 31
Quarter 3October 31
Quarter 4January 31

Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Tax quarterly report

As a Washington employer, you must provide reports on your employees' wages and hours and pay premiums quarterly.

Reporting PeriodDue Date
Quarter 1April 30
Quarter 2July 31
Quarter 3October 31
Quarter 4January 31

Premiums for state workers' compensation insurance quarterly report

L&I offers a program to aid struggling businesses by enabling them to establish a workers' compensation premium payment plan for up to 90 days, thereby avoiding penalties and interest. Even if your business had no employees during the quarter, you still need to submit a quarterly report indicating zero hours worked.

QuarterReport periodDue Date
Quarter 1January 1 - March 31April 30
Quarter 2April 1 - June 30July 31
Quarter 3July 1 - September 30October 31
Quarter 4October 1 - December 31January 31

Have all the information handy?

With SecurePayStubs, you can calculate accurate federal and Washington state taxes for your employees and generate pay stubs securely.

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Processing payroll manually is complex

As a business owner who runs payroll manually, you will need to keep up with ever-changing payroll laws. You already have a lot on your plate and you might not want to get into the complex process of pay stub generation.

With SecurePayStubs, you can create pay stubs using our online paystub generator for your employees with accurate federal and Washington state taxes and independent contractors in less than 2 minutes. Enter the basic employee and employer information, select a pay stub template for free, and let SecurePayStubs calculate the applicable payroll taxes accurately.

Spend less time generating pay stubs and more on your business growth.

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This article has been updated from its original publication date of March 28, 2024.