A Guide to Washington State Laws & Regulations for
Lodging Properties

The Washington Hospitality Association and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) partnered to create this Lodging Excellence Handbook: A Guide to Washington State Laws & Regulations for Lodging Properties.

The goal of this initial version of the Lodging Excellence Handbook is to inform current and prospective lodging operators about various laws and rules where L&I has oversight authority. This oversight mainly falls into two categories: employee rights and employee safety.

(Note: We included a few topics that are overseen by state agencies other than L&I. Those sections are labeled with the agency that has the applicable oversight authority for those topics. Future versions of the Lodging Excellence Handbook will expand to include additional regulations overseen by other state agencies such as food safety requirements, liquor licenses, etc.)

Some lodging operators have a small business background and assume they have a thorough understanding of state laws and regulations. Or some operators from other states open a lodging property in Washington and assume (incorrectly) the laws and rules in their state are the same as the ones here. Not fully understanding Washington’s unique labor laws and regulations can lead to costly compliance violations.

The Lodging Excellence Handbook is intended to get lodging operators started on the right path to understanding Washington state laws and regulations on employee rights and employee safety and assist them in avoiding costly citations from L&I.

The amount of information that’s available on these topics is vast – far more than we can publish in this single handbook. The Lodging Excellence Handbook is designed to get you started in the right direction.

You can view the print version of the handbook in its entirety here.

Our partnership with L&I provided an opportunity to create a Spanish-language version, which can be downloaded from our website at: wahospitality.org/toolkits/ lodging-excellence-handbook/spanish

If you have any suggestions, feedback, questions, or comments about the Lodging Excellence Handbook, you can send those to

Washington Hospitality Association – Legal Disclaimer

The Washington Hospitality Association believes that the statements and descriptions of the various laws and regulations set forth hereinafter with respect to the various items appearing in this Table of Contents (including those relating to, employee tips, employment standards, health and workplace safety, and miscellaneous laws and regulations) are legally accurate descriptions of the laws and practices applicable to these items as of the date set forth below.

However, because the laws relating to these various subjects are constantly changing and may in some cases, be subject to exceptions, and because many of the subjects and/or items included are legally complex, and in some cases, legally ambiguous, and because the size and format of the Lodging Excellence Handbook permits only a summary description of these various laws and their requirements, the association makes no warranty or representation concerning the legal accuracy, adequacy or sufficiency of the statements and descriptions of the various laws and regulations set forth hereinafter.

Members of the association use and/or rely upon the statements and descriptions set forth herein at their own risk. The Washington Hospitality Association recommends that operators intending to use and/or rely upon the information, description and statements set forth herein obtain independent legal advice from their own legal counsel before doing so.