New in 2022 – law changes impacting the industry

New in 2022 – law changes impacting the industry

This page features new laws or upcoming changes impacting hospitality businesses that will go into effect in 2022. Each week we’ll  send members reminders in our weekly email and add more info, so bookmark this page to check back and make sure your business is prepared.

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Minimum wage
Collecting employee contributions for long-term care (WA Cares)
Single-use serviceware


Minimum Wage

  • Washington state minimum wage will be $14.49 in 2022

The Washington State department of Labor & Industries (L&I) announced that the minimum wage in Washington state will see an increase of 80 cents on Jan. 1.. The new statewide minimum wage will be $14.49 per hour, up from $13.69.

  • Overtime threshold set at $52,743.60 for

The threshold that needs to be reached to be exempt from overtime will be raised to $52,743.60 per year for businesses of all sizes. The state salary thresholds for exempt employees have been a multiplier of the state minimum wage since 2020. One of the thresholds multipliers will rise on Jan. 1, 2022, which means that small businesses with 50 employees or fewer will have to pay at least 1.75 times the state minimum wage ($1,014.30 a week). This brings them in line with large businesses already tied to that threshold.

Click here for additional background on the overtime threshold setting process.

You can view the 2020-28 salary threshold implementation schedule here.

L&I Salary OT Threshold Schedule

  • Seattle minimum wage will be $17.27 in 2022

The Seattle Office of Labor Standards announced that the minimum wage for workers in the city of Seattle will rise to $17.27/hour on Jan. 1, 2022, representing a 58-cent increase. For small employers with 500 or fewer employees that pay medical benefits or where tips exceed $1.52/hour, the new minimum wage will be $15.75/hour up from $15/hour.

  • SeaTac minimum wage will be $17.53 in 2022

The city of SeaTac calculates its minimum wage by tying it to the living-wage rate and the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers. The new minimum wage for hospitality and transportation employees within the city will increase to $17.53 on Jan. 1, 2022, up from $16.57 in 2021.

Collecting employee contributions for long-term care (WA Cares)

On Jan. 1, 2022, employers will begin collecting premiums for the state’s long-term care program, WA Cares. Employers will report premiums from employees in the same manner they currently do for paid family and medical leave. The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) is updating the paid leave reporting system so employers can report for both programs at the same time, but as a refresher you can click here to learn more about quarterly paid family leave reporting.

As a reminder, employers do not have to pay into this fund. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Washington workers will pay up to $0.58 per $100 of earnings and self-employed workers can opt-in to the trust. Beginning Jan. 1, 2025, each person who is eligible to receive the benefit can access services and support of up to $36,500.

WA Cares first-quarter payments for 2022 (January, February, March) are due on April 30, 2022. Employees with their own long-term care insurance who want to opt out of the program need to provide an approved exemption letter from ESD. Employers currently offering their own long-term care plans cannot opt out for their employees.

We will keep you updated as the state adds additional resources and information on how to report. You can also view the state’s WA Cares informational page for employers, which includes FAQs, links to upcoming webinars and more.

Single-use serviceware

Beginning in 2022, businesses can no longer automatically include some single-use items in customer orders. Customers will have to verbally confirm that they want single-use items, or they must select items from self-service bins instead of having them automatically included with a food order.

Affected items include:

  • Utensils (knives, forks, spoons, cocktail picks, chopsticks, splash sticks, and stirrers)
  • Straws
  • Condiment packages
  • Cup lids for cold beverages

Items that are still OK to include with a customer’s order without verbal confirmation include:

  • Plates, bowls, cups, and other products used to contain food or beverages
  • Lids for hot beverages
  • Wrappers for takeout food items
  • Items provided by medical facilities

You can read more on the Washington State Department of Ecology website here and read the law here.

Rate changes in 2022

  • L&I The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) posted 2022 base rates for employers here. Restaurants and taverns will see a 6% increase in their hourly L&I base rate to $.4247. Hotels will see a 1% increase to $.8695 per hour worked for full time employees.


  • Paid Family & Medical Leave The 2022 premium rate is 0.6 percent of each employee’s gross wages, not including tips, up to the 2022 Social Security cap of $147,000. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees are not required to pay the employer portion of the premium, but they still must collect employee premiums, or pay employee premiums on their behalf. You can calculate your 2022 premiums here