This page features new laws or upcoming changes that go into effect in 2023. We will update this page with new information, so make sure to bookmark it and check back for helpful information as the new year approaches.
Top changes coming Jan. 1, 2023
Washington state’s minimum wage is $15.74 per hour
In addition to the new statewide minimum wage, the overtime threshold will increase to $57,293 for small employers (1-50 employees) and $65,478 for large employers (51+ employees).
- The SeaTac minimum wage for workers in the hospitality and transportation industry is $19.06.
- Seattle’s minimum wage differs based on your business size and the employee’s health benefits and tip earnings.
- $18.69 per hour for large employers (501 or more employees)
- $18.69 per hour for small employers (500 or fewer employees) who do not pay at least $2.19 per hour toward the employee’s medical benefits and/or where the employee does not earn at least $2.19 per hour in tips.
- $16.50 per hour for small employers who do pay at least $2.19 per hour toward the employee’s medical benefits and/or where the employee does earn at least $2.19 per hour in tips.
- Tukwila voters approved a ballot measure increasing the minimum wage effective July 1, 2023.
- Large employers (over 500 employees) must match the SeaTac minimum wage.
- Covered employers (15 to 500, or annual gross revenue over $2 million) have a phased in approach, which starts at $17.06 effective July 1, 2023.
- Small employers (fewer than 15 employees) are exempt.
You can learn more on our minimum wage resources page.
Information from the Department of Labor & Industries:
With the determination of the minimum wage for 2023, L&I has also calculated new minimum salary requirements for employees who are exempt from receiving overtime pay. The minimum salaries are a multiplier of the minimum wage. This change impacts “white collar” positions held by executive, administrative, and professional workers plus computer professionals and outside salespeople. To be exempt from earning overtime, a worker must earn at least the minimum salary and their duties must meet a jobs test.
The 2023 minimum salary for exempt employees working for small employers (1-50 employees) is 1.75 times the minimum wage. That means an employee exempt from overtime pay must earn at least $1,101.80 a week ($57,293.60 a year).
Salary Threshold Implementation Schedule
For large employers (51 or more employees), the threshold is 2 times the minimum wage. Those employees must earn at least $1,259.20 a week ($65,478.40 a year).
L&I updated the overtime rules in 2020, creating an eight-year implementation schedule that incrementally raises the multiplier until it reaches 2.5 times in 2028. The pace of the increase is based on the size of the employer.
Employers required to include salary information in job postings
Washington’s Equal Pay Opportunity Act (EPOA) requires that employers must provide equal compensation to “similarly-employed” workers, except for some specific reasons unrelated to gender. Amendments made in 2022 mean that starting Jan. 1, 2023, employers with 15 or more employees will be required to include salary and benefits information in external and internal job postings.
A while back, we posted information about the pay transparency requirements on or website, and shared a great blog post from Catharine Morisset about what employers should do to prepare for the new law.
Catharine is a partner at Fisher Phillips law firm, which focuses on employment and labor law. We are fortunate to have her as an allied member and an active contributor to the association’s advisory network.
Catharine recently hosted a webinar on Washington’s new job posting requirements, which were adopted by the Legislature as amendments to the Equal Pay Opportunity Act. In case you missed it, head over to the members only site to get a full recap of Catharine’s presentation.
Also, L&I has several webinars scheduled over the next few months to help employers understand this new requirement. Head over to our events calendar and look for “L&I Webinar: Equal Pay and Opportunities Act” to find a date and time that works for you.
Paid Family & Medical Leave premiums increase
Starting Jan. 1, 2023, the total premium rate increases to 0.8%.
Employers will pay 27.24% of the total premium and employees will pay 72.76%.
As a reminder: Employers report each employee’s total gross wages, not including tips, and collect premiums up to the Social Security cap. Once an employee meets the Social Security cap, you must stop collecting premiums but continue to report their wages.
Businesses classified by the Employment Security Department as having fewer than 50 employees are not required to pay the employer portion of the premium but must still collect the employee premium.
Learn what you need to know to be prepared on Jan. 1, 2023, including employee notifications and state reporting deadlines, on the Washington Paid Leave website.
2023 labor posters
Keep an eye out for your 2023 labor poster, which will be arriving in mailboxes in early January. Several posters were updated over the last year, so you’ll want to make sure you display the 2023 version as soon as it arrives.
Additional posters and other resources can be found on our Labor Poster page.
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) reporting required
All employers will be required to report SOC codes or job titles starting with the fourth quarter 2022 tax report for unemployment insurance. SOC is a federal coding system that helps government agencies and private businesses compare occupational data.
A full list of SOC codes can be found on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website.
- Food service industry codes are mostly found in the 35-0000 series.
- Driver/Sales Workers and Truck Drivers (53-3031)
- Most of the lodging industry codes will be found under:
- Lodging Managers (11-9081)
- Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners (37-2012)
- Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers (37-3011)
- Baggage Porters and Bellhops (39-6011)
- Concierges (39-6012)
- Hotel, Motel, and Resort Desk Clerks (43-4081)
ESD is hosting a free webinar for employers on the new SOC code reporting requirements on Monday, Dec. 12 at 11 a.m. Register here.
ESD has a previously recorded SOC code webinar and slide deck presentation that reviews commonly asked questions and answers.
If you have any questions about how to report SOC codes, send an email to or call 855-829-9243.
Fisher Phillips: 5 Key 2022 Updates to Form I-9 Compliance as Employers Head Into 2023
David Jones and Jeffrey Winchester with the law firm Fisher Phillips have five recent I-9 and E-Verify updates that employers should know heading into 2023.
Certified Food Protection Manager requirement takes effect in March
The federal food code has required establishments to have a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) for several years, and now it is a requirement in Washington for the first time after inclusion in the most recent update to our state food code.
As of March 1, 2023, all food establishments must comply with the new CFPM requirement. CFPMs must get certified through an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited program. Washington Hospitality Association members can sign up for training and certification through our partnership with the National Restaurant Association and ServSafe.
You can find more details and resources here.
The variance allowing businesses to offer alcohol-to-go is set to expire July 1, 2023
The Legislature could vote to extend this variance again or make it permanent. You can have an impact on the fate of this extension by staying in compliance if you offer alcohol-to-go. Engaging with your lawmaker or sending your story to our government affairs team if this variance has helped your business can also help move the needle on this issue.
WA Cares on hold until July 2023
WA Cares is a long-term care trust program that was approved by the Legislature in 2019. Washington-based employees will be taxed up to $0.58 per $100 in earnings, and then may be eligible for certain long-term care benefits. Employers do not pay into the fund, although they are required to collect and remit WA Cares taxes to the state (once the program resumes).
However, during the 2022 legislative session, the Legislature delayed implementation of WA Cares by 18 months to give lawmakers additional time to address issues with the program. Employee premium collections are set to resume on July 1, 2023 barring any changes made during the upcoming legislative session. This delay gave the Legislature time to make necessary changes to the program. This promises to be one of the biggest issues for legislators during the 2023 session. We will provide new guidance for members if the Legislature enacts updates to WA Cares next session.
2023 workers’ comp rates
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) gave final approval to a 4.8 percent increase on the average price employers and workers pay for workers’ compensation insurance in 2023. Within hospitality, the average rate increases for 2023 are:
- 7% Lodging
- 7% Card Rooms
- 5% Restaurants and Taverns
- 2% Golf Courses