2021 salary thresholds set for overtime exempt employees

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, L&I has determined the minimum wage for next year will be $13.69 an hour, up from $13.50 an hour in 2020. The new thresholds will go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

Using the 2021 minimum wage, L&I has calculated the salary thresholds taking effect Jan. 1, 2021:

  • Small businesses (1-50 employees): An exempt employee must earn a salary of at least 1.5 times the minimum wage, or $821.40 a week ($42,712.80/year).
  • Large businesses (51 or more employees): An exempt employee must earn a salary of at least 1.75 times the minimum wage, or $958.30 a week ($49,831.60/year).
    L&I changed how this minimum threshold is determined when updates to the state overtime rules took effect July 1. The salary thresholds are now a multiplier of the minimum wage.

The new minimum wage will impact some employees exempt from overtime and other protections of the Minimum Wage Act.

Because the new state thresholds will be more favorable than the federal threshold of $684/week ($35,568/year), Washington employers will have to adhere to the state thresholds in 2021.

As part of its education and outreach efforts, L&I is offering webinars to help employers and employees understand the rule changes. The webinar begins with a 45-minute presentation by outreach specialists from L&I’s Employment Standards program, followed by 30 minutes for questions and answers. You can register at L&I’s calendar of workshops, events and webinars. Look for “Overtime Exemptions Training Sessions (Webinar)” in the “Event Title” pull down menu.

L&I has also developed an array of digital tools. They include an online course plus facts sheets, case examples, technical documents, and threshold implementation charts that can be found at L&I’s overtime resource center web page.

Contact Ryan Makinster with any questions or for more information