Eligible Employees Can Now Apply for Benefits Under Washington State’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program Starting January 1, 2020

Beginning on January 1, 2020, eligible employees will be able to apply for benefits paid into the Paid Family and Medical Leave program that employers and employees have been paying into since 2019.

Eligible employees will be allowed to receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave for bonding after the birth or placement of a child, an employee’s or qualifying family member's serious health condition, or certain military events.

For full details regarding this program, visit For a guide on the Paid Family and Medical Leave program you can download the Employer Toolkit.

Federal and State Changes to Overtime Rules Starting January 1, 2020

Starting on January 1, 2020 the new federal employment overtime rules will go into effect. The new federal overtime rule raises the salary thresholds for exempt employees and allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses and commission earnings towards meeting the salary level.

The new federal overtime rule includes raising the standard salary level to $684 per week, raising the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees to $107,432 per year, allowing employers to use non discretionary bonuses and incentive payments like commissions to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level, and revising the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industry.

Washington State’s Department of Labor & Industries has also updated our state’s overtime rules to more closely align with these new federal rules. The new state changes will be phased in over time starting on July 1, 2020 and will be fully implemented by January 2028. Changes include updates to the job duties tests, along with the salary threshold, to determine if an employee can be exempt from overtime. On July 1, 2020, the state minimum salary threshold will increase to $675 a week. The salary threshold will increase incrementally until the year 2028.

Even with these new federal and state rules, there are still some conflicts in salary threshold amounts. Businesses must follow the rules that are most favorable to their employees.

  • Starting January 1, 2020 – Washington employers should follow the new federal overtime rule for the year 2020.

  • Starting January 1, 2021 – Washington employers should then follow our new state overtime rules.

The Washington State new salary threshold implementation schedule can be viewed here:

For more guidance on the Washington State Overtime Rule changes, visit Changes to Overtime Rules and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries Overtime Rules Fact Sheet.

For more guidance on the federal rule, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Highlights of the Final Overtime Rule.

Judge Grants Temporary Stay on I-976 Until Further Action From The Court

Initiative 976 is being challenged in court. On 11/27/2019 a judge granted a preliminary injunction and entered an order to stay the implementation of I-976 pending further action from the court.

All Dealers should continue collecting the additional 0.3% sales and use tax on sales and leases of motor vehicles until further notice from the court.

You can read the order granting the motion for preliminary injunction issued by the court here.

Sales and Use Tax Exemption on Clean Alternative Fuel & Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles Effective August 1, 2019

Starting on August 1, 2019, new sales tax rules include a sales and use tax exemption on retail sales and lease of certain new and used passenger cars and light and medium duty trucks. To be eligible for this exemption, the vehicle must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Exclusively powered by a clean alternative fuel; or
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicle that can travel at least 30 miles on battery power alone.

For used vehicles that meet the criteria, the vehicle must also have a sales or lease price of up to $30,000. The exempted sales tax amount is the total sales price or $16,000, whichever is less.

The Department of Licensing provides a list of eligible vehicles on their website. The list can be found here: Vehicle Models Eligible for the Washington State Tax Exemptions.

This exemption is set to expire on July 31, 2025 unless the Legislature extends it.

For more information please contact the Department of Revenue's Tax Assistance at (360) 705-6705 or view the Department of Revenue's Special Notice.

Dealers May Experience Title Transfer Issues When License Status Is On Hold

Earlier in the year, the Department of Licensing had been experiencing issues with their titling system that restricted Dealers from being able to process title transfers with their local DOL agency while their motor vehicle dealer license status was on hold. This issue should now be corrected, but if you experience any issues with transferring titles due to your license being on hold while your renewal is being process, call DOL's Dealer Services at (360) 664-6466 ext. 7.

Titling and Registration Fee Change Effective April 1, 2019

SB 6438 was signed into law in March of 2018. This bill allows county auditors and DOL subagents to charge a service fee when a title transaction and registration transaction are completed at the same time. Starting with vehicle sale dates of April 1, 2019 and later, the charge will be $12.00 for the title transaction and $5.00 for vehicle registration.

This service fee is in addition to any other taxes and fees due at the time of application for a title or registration transaction.

If you have any questions regarding this change, please contact your local licensing office.

Customer's Legal Name As It Appears On Their Driver's License Record Now Required On Title Applications Starting September 4, 2018

Starting on September 4, 2018 the Department of Licensing will require you to list the customer's legal name, as it appears on their driver's license, on all title applications. If the title application lists a different name than what is on their driver's license record, the DOL will request a name change document prior to issuing the title or they may reject the transaction.

Fill out the customer's name on the title application exactly as it appears on their driver's license; the DOL will reject all nick names on title applications, such as Joe when the driver's license lists Joseph.

If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact your local vehicle licensing office.