Remote’s guide to employing in

Washington
washington flag

Make employment in Washington easy. Let us handle payroll, benefits, taxes, compliance, and even stock options for your team in Washington, all in one easy-to-use platform.

  • Capital City

    Olympia

  • Currency

    United States Dollar ($, USD)

  • Population size

    70,00,000

Services available in this country:
Employer of Record ProductPayrollContractor Management
Washington memorial

Facts & Stats

Washington monument
  • Capital City

    Olympia

  • Currency

    United States Dollar ($, USD)

  • Population size

    70,00,000

  • VAT - standard rate

    7% (plus additional local taxes )

As the birthplace of commerce giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks, Seattle has always been a global hub for technology and entrepreneurship.

From the majestic peaks of the Cascades to the tech-savvy heart of Seattle, the Evergreen State combines awe-inspiring natural landscapes with cutting-edge innovation. A thriving job market, vibrant arts scene, and ample outdoor recreational opportunities make the city an appealing proposition for employees and employers alike.

Grow your team in Washington with Remote

If you want to hire in Washington, you’ll need to own a legal entity there — or partner with a global employment solutions provider, like Remote.  

We can employ top talent in Washington on your behalf and manage complex HR tasks such as onboarding, payroll, benefits, and taxes. You can also manage and pay your contractors in Washington through Remote.

Risks of misclassification

Washington, like many other countries, treats self-employed individuals or contractors and full-time employees differently. Misclassification of contractors in Washington may lead to fines and penalties for the offending company.

Washington mountain range and lake

Employing in Washington

In Washington, workers’ rights are protected by numerous employment and labour laws, at both the state and federal level. As a result, employees enjoy protection from discrimination based on age, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and race.

Here are the key things you need to know about hiring in Washington.

Hours of work in Washington

Work and overtime laws in Washington are overseen by the state’s Department of Labour and Industries.

What is considered full-time employment in Washington?

According to the Department of Social and Health Services, full-time employment is considered to be between 32 and 40 hours per week.

Do pay employees get overtime in Washington?

Under the federal Fair Labour Standards Act, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay of 1.5x their regular pay rate if they work more than 40 hours in a week.

Employees are generally (but not always) exempt from overtime if they:

  • Earn more than the specified state or federal exemption threshold

  • Perform a role with duties that are considered executive or managerial

  • Work in a certified or licensed profession, such as law, accounting, architecture, or engineering

In Washington, the pay threshold for exemption is currently:

  • $1,101.80 per week (in companies with 25 or fewer employees)

  • $1,259.20 per week (in companies with 26 or more employees)

Minimum wage in Washington

The minimum state wage for private sector employees is currently $16.28 per hour, although rates are higher in certain areas, such as Seattle.

Onboarding timeline in Washington

We can help you get your new employee started in Washington fast, with a minimum onboarding time (MOT) of just 2 working days. Note that the MOT is dependent upon registration with the local authorities, and begins after the employee has submitted all the required information on the Remote platform.

For non-citizens of the US, a work eligibility assessment may be required, and can add three extra days to the onboarding time. If a follow-up is needed, there may be additional delays.

Please note that payroll cut-off dates can impact the actual first day of employment. Remote’s payroll cut-off date is the 10th of the month, unless otherwise specified.

Payroll cycle in Washington

Under state law, employees must be paid at least once per month. 

For Remote customers, employee payments are made twice per month in equal instalments, payable in arrears. The first payment is made on the 15th of the month and the second payment is made on the final day of the month. If relevant, bonus payments, commissions, and expense reimbursements are included in the second payment of the cycle.

Competitive benefits in Washington

Are employers required to provide health insurance in Washington?

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, organisations with a headcount of 50 or more must offer statutory health insurance to their full-time employees.

Many employers also offer some level of supplemental health insurance. While this can lead to a relative rise in employment costs, it’s an essential benefit that ensures your people have access to routine care and are covered in the event of an emergency. 

Because Remote is the employer of record (EOR), it’s important for us to offer the same core benefits to all employees to ensure fair and non-discriminatory hiring practices. This protects both your business and ours.

Note that we do not add a markup on any benefits premiums or administration costs.

Are employers required to offer 401k in Washington?

No. Organisations are not currently required to offer a 401k retirement plan (or any other type of savings plan) to their employees. However, they may choose to offer this benefit as part of their overall compensation package.

Competitive benefits package in Country

Remote can help you craft a competitive benefits package to attract and retain the best global talent. Our benefits experts understand the trends, requirements, and expectations of the Washington labour market, allowing your employees to feel appreciated and thrive.

Our benefits packages in Washington usually include some or all of the following:

  • Pension or 401(K)

  • Medical Insurance

  • Vision Insurance

  • Health Saving Plan (HSA)

  • Long term disability insurance (LTD)

  • Dental Insurance

  • Life Insurance

  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Taxes in Washington

Employment taxes and statutory fees affect both your payroll and your employees’ paychecks in Washington.

Employer taxes

Employment Tax

6%

Federal unemployment insurance tax (FUTA) (charged on the first $7,000 an employee earns per year)

1.5% to 8.15%

State unemployment insurance tax (SUTA)

6.2%

FICA (Social security)

1.45%

FICA (Medicare)

Employee taxes

Payroll Tax

10% to 37%

Federal income tax

6.2%

FICA (Social security)

1.45%

FICA (Medicare)

Types of leave

Holiday

In Washington, there is no state or federal law that requires employers to provide paid or unpaid holiday leave to their employees.

However, many employers offer 10 days of paid leave after the first year of employment.

Sick leave

Under the state’s Paid Sick Leave Law, employees are entitled to 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked (with no accrual or usage cap).

Paid sick leave in Seattle

In Seattle, sick leave entitlement is dictated by the size of the employer, as follows:

1 to 49 employees: 1 hour of paid leave per 40 hours worked (up to 40 hours per year)

50 to 249 employees: 1 hour of paid leave per 40 hours worked (up to 56 hour per year)

250 or more employees: 1 hour of paid leave per 30 hours worked (up to 72 hours per year)

Paid sick leave in Tacoma

The law is also slightly different in Tacoma, where employees earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. However, this is capped at 40 hours per year.

Can an employer deny sick time in Washington?

As well as state-mandated leave, employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks’ unpaid sick leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), provided they:

Have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months

Work in a location where at least 50 people are employed by the company within a 75-mile radius

Parental and maternity leave

Under state law, employees are entitled to paid family leave of between 12 and 18 weeks, depending on their circumstances. This entitlement is for 90% of the employee’s weekly wage (capped at $1,000 per week).

To qualify, the employee must have worked for your company for at least 820 hours. 

Under the FMLA, employees are also entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity or paternity leave. Some organisations opt to pay a reduced pay during this period.

Bereavement leave

Employers are not legally required to provide bereavement leave to their employees, although most organisations offer unpaid leave.

Jury duty

Employees must report for jury duty if summoned (unless exempt). Jurors are typically on call for two weeks.

Do employers have to pay for jury duty in Washington?

No. Private sector employers are not required to pay employees on jury service, but they must provide unpaid leave, and cannot penalise or terminate an employee on jury duty. Many employers provide paid leave.

Military leave

Under state and federal law, employers must grant leave to employees who are members of the military or the National Guard for military duty or training.

These employees have the right to take time off for their military obligations, and employers are prohibited from discriminating against them based on their military service.

Under state law, military spouses are also entitled to 15 days’ unpaid leave if their partner is about to deploy, or if they are on leave from deployment.

Employment termination

Termination process

Like nearly all US states, Washington is an at-will state. This means both employers and employees can end the employment relationship without reason, provided it is legal.

Remote’s legal experts can help you navigate terminations to ensure employees are only let go fairly, negating any potential legal complications.

Notice period

Employers and employees are not required to provide notice of termination, unless otherwise stated in the employment contract.

Despite this, it's usually customary for employees to provide two weeks' notice when leaving an organisation.


Severance pay

Employers are not legally required to provide severance pay (unless it is stipulated in the employee's contract or in the company policy).

Employers are also not required to pay any accrued but unused holiday time, unless stipulated in the employment agreement.

Probation periods

There is no requirement to provide a probation period for employees, although many companies implement internal probation policies. These policies typically involve a formal performance evaluation after a specified period, such as three or six months.