Washington Employers Required to Pay Overtime for Some Missed Rest Periods

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Regulations promulgated by the Department of Labor and Industries (“L&I”) under the Washington Minimum Wage Act require employers to provide most non-exempt employees with a paid rest period of at least ten minutes for every four hours worked. If a covered employee works through or is required to return to work during a rest period, the employee is entitled to take the remainder of the rest period later or must be compensated for the missed rest period.

On October 25, 2012, in Washington State Nurses Association v. Sacred Heart Medical Center, the Washington Supreme Court unanimously held that the Washington Minimum Wage Act requires employers to pay one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay (i.e., “overtime pay”) for any “worked through” rest period that results in the employee’s workweek exceeding 40 hours.

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