Is a non-compete agreement enforceable?
There are many factors that go into determining whether a non-compete agreement is enforceable. First, the agreement must be supported by a promise by the employer other than just continued employment (i.e. a promotion, a raise, training) or it must be signed at the time employment commences. Second, the agreement must be reasonable in duration and in geographic scope. Finally, the agreement must be necessary to protect the employer and must be narrowly tailored to accomplish that goal.
What does it mean that Washington is an at-will employment state?
In general, an employee or an employer can terminate the employment relationship without notice, and without cause. There are some exceptions to this general rule, including that a covered employer cannot terminate an employee based on the individual’s race, color, religion, disability, age (if over 40), and certain other protected categories. This general rule does not apply if there is an employment contract or Collective Bargaining Agreement that provides otherwise.
What is Washington’s minimum wage?
The Washington minimum wage for 2012 is $9.04 per hour. In 2013 the minimum wage will be $9.19 per hour.
What is the rule on paying for overtime?
Most workers who are paid an hourly wage must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a 7-day work week. Overtime must be at least one and one-half times the worker’s regular hourly rate. There are exceptions to this rule. Employees categorized as “exempt” do not have to be paid overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a week.
Can an employer make overtime mandatory?
Yes, an employer may require employees to work overtime.
What rest breaks are required for employees?
An employee is entitled to a break of at least 10 minutes for every 4 hours of work. This break must be no later than the end of the third hour of the shift. If the employee works more than 5 hours in a shift, the employee must be allowed a 30 minute meal break. The meal break must start at least 2 hours into the shift but not more than 5 hours after the beginning of the shift.
Do employers have to pay an employee for a lunch break?
No, as long as the employee is free from any duties for the entire meal period. Employees must be paid for the lunch break if they are required to, or allowed to, remain on duty, they are required to be on-call at the business site or other designated worksite, or they are called back to duty during the meal period.
Can an employee use paid leave benefits to care for sick family members?
Yes. Under certain conditions, employees with paid leave may use earned paid time off to care for a sick family member under Washington’s Family Care Act. In general, if the employee is eligible to use the paid leave for his or her own illnesses, he or she must also be allowed to use it for a family member who is ill. A family member includes children, parents, spouses, registered domestic partners, parents-in-law, and grandparents. It does not include siblings, aunts and uncles, grandchildren, or grandparents-in-law.
When can an employee use paid leave to care for a child under 18?
An employee may use available paid leave when his or her child has a “health condition,” including: a medical condition requiring treatment or medication that the child cannot self-administer; a medical or mental-health condition that would endanger the child’s safety or recovery without the presence of a parent or guardian; and a condition warranting treatment or preventive health care such as physical, dental, optical or immunization services, when a parent must be present to authorize the treatment. For purposes of this law, a child includes a biological, adopted or foster child, a stepchild, and a legal ward.
Can an employee use sick leave to care for a pregnant spouse or child?
Yes. An employee may use available paid time off to care for a wife or daughter while she is incapacitated as a result of pregnancy or childbirth. This generally includes some prenatal and postpartum examinations, hospitalization, and during the immediate recovery period after childbirth.
When can an employee take time off to care for a spouse, parent, registered domestic partner, parent-in-law, or grandparent?
An employee may use available paid time off when a spouse, parent, registered domestic partner, parent-in-law, or grandparent has a serious or emergency health condition, which requires an overnight stay in a hospital or other medical-care facility; which results in a period of incapacity, treatment or recovery following inpatient care, or which requires continuing treatment under the care of a health care services provider that includes any period of incapacity to work or attend to regular daily activities.
Do the rules on family leave require businesses to offer paid sick leave?
No. The rules on family leave under the Washington Family Care Act simply assure that employees who do have earned sick leave or other paid time off are able to use this leave to care for sick family members. It does not require employers to offer paid time off.
Can an employee take unpaid leave to care for family members?
Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees who work for covered companies may take up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted or foster child, to recover from the employee’s own serious illness, or to care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition. A covered company is any public employer or a private employer with 50 or more employees that work within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite. To earn this benefit, the employee must have worked at least 12 months for the employer for a total of at least 1,250 hours. FMLA leave is typically unpaid leave, but an employer can choose to provide paid leave.
What factors are used to determine if a worker is an independent contractor instead of an employee?
Service performed by an individual is considered employment unless it is shown that:
- The individual is free from direction and control over the performance of the service; and
- The service is either performed: -Outside of the usual course of business for which the service is performed, or -Outside of all the places of business of the enterprise for which the service is performed; or -The individual has a principal place of business and is responsible for the costs; and
- The individual: -Is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service contract, or -Has a principal place of business that is eligible for a federal income tax business deduction; and
- On the effective date of the contract of service, the individual is responsible for filing a schedule of expenses with the Internal Revenue Service; and
- On the effective date of the contract or within a reasonable period after the effective date of the contract, the individual has an: -Active account with the Department of Revenue, -Active account with any other state agencies, and -A Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number; and
- On the effective date of contract of service, the individual is maintaining a separate set of books or records that reflect all items of income and expenses of the business that the individual is conducting; and
- If the services are by an individual in the electrical or construction industries, it must also be shown that, on the effective date of the contract, the individual has a valid contractor registration under RCW 18.27 or an electrical contractor license under RCW 19.28 if the work requires a registration or license.
Do I have to pay unemployment compensation for an independent contractor?
No. However, you should make certain that the worker is in fact an independent contractor. You may want to speak to an attorney to discuss this prior to filing a quarterly tax report with the Washington State Employment Security Department.
What happens if I misclassify an employee as an independent contractor?
A common mistake made by businesses when filing their quarterly unemployment insurance tax reports is misclassifying their employees as independent contractors. If the Washington State Employment Security Department discovers these mistakes, the business is responsible to pay back taxes for the misclassified workers, in addition to accrued penalties and interest.