Department of Licensing Mandatory Furlough Days
The Department of Licensing will be closed for mandatory furlough days on August 21st, September 18th, October 16th, and November 20th. During these furlough days, the DOL will not be open to assist you and these closures may cause a delay in their response to you.
Guidance and Best Practices to Address Unmasked Customers
The Office of the Governor has put out guidance and best practices for businesses to help comply with the face covering requirement. The guidance offers ways to implement the face covering requirement at your business.
According to the guidance, if a customer is not wearing a face covering, you should take the following steps:
- If a customer enters your business without a face covering, educate the customer about the face covering requirement. Keep a supply of disposable masks so that you can offer one to a customer who does not have one.
- If a customer declines to wear a face covering, you can inquire as to whether the person has a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering, but you cannot ask about specific details or require proof of the medical condition or disability.
- If a customer is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability, offer some kind of accommodation that will ensure physical distancing.
- If a customer refuses to wear a face covering and does not have a medical condition or disability preventing them from wearing one, businesses are encouraged to tell the customer that they cannot serve them and they need to leave the premises.
For more information on the guidance and best practices, visit Overview of COVID-19 Statewide Face Covering Requirements.
Employers Must Notify Local Health Department If COVID-19 is Spreading Through Workplace
In addition to the statewide mandate ordering all businesses to require customers to wear face coverings, all employers must notify their local health department within 24 hours if COVID-19 is spreading through their workplace or if two or more employees develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within 14 days of each other.
The signed Proclamation 20-25.6 signed by Governor Inslee on July 7th states, "No employer may operate, unless it notifies the employer’s local health jurisdiction within 24 hours if the employer suspects COVID-19 is spreading in the employer’s workplace, or if the employer is aware of 2 or more employees who develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period."
For a list of local health departments, visit Washington State Local Health Departments and Districts. To read Proclamation 20-25.6, visit Proclamation 20-25.6 Safe Start - Stay Health County by County Phased Reopening.
All Businesses Statewide Must Require Customers to Wear a Face Covering - Effective July 7th
In response to the growing cases of COVID-19 across Washington, Governor Inslee has issued a statewide proclamation requiring every business to require face coverings of all employees and customers.
Under this new proclamation, businesses are not allowed to serve any customer or provide any services or goods if that customer does not comply with the state-wide face covering order.
No individual may enter a place of business, whether the business is operating indoors or outdoors, without first donning a face covering, unless that individual does so under circumstances expressly exempted from this requirement under Order of the Secretary of Health Proclamation 20-03.
Those individuals who are exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering include, but is not limited to:
- Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes, but is not limited to, persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
- Children younger than five years old.
- While in an outdoor public area, provided that a distance of at least six feet is maintained from non-household members.
- When any party to a communication is deaf or hard of hearing and not wearing a face covering is essential to communication.
- While obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering.
- When necessary to confirm the individual’s identity.
- When federal or state law prohibits wearing a face covering or requires the removal of a face covering.
All employers must comply with this proclamation in order to operate their business.
For more information, visit Order of the Secretary of Health Proclamation 20-03 - Face Coverings.
DOL Offices in Olympia Will Be Closed on Fridays in July for Mandatory Furlough Days
The Department of Licensing will close for mandatory furlough days starting July 2nd. Governor Inslee ordered mandatory furlough days for all state employees due to a state budget shortfall caused by revenue loss from COVID-19.
The mandatory furlough days include:
- Thursday, July 2 (since Friday, July 3 is a state holiday)
- Friday, July 10
- Friday, July 17
- Friday, July 24
The mandatory furlough does not affect county or private vehicle licensing offices. For a list of vehicle licensing offices, visit DOL Vehicle Licensing Offices.
Facial Coverings Are Required For All Workplaces Statewide
On June 8th, Governor Inslee issued the requirement for facial coverings for all employers and their employees as our economic activity increases.
There are some exceptions: Those working alone or those individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who communicate with someone who relies on nonverbal language cues. An employee with a medical condition or disability may be exempt from the requirement if they provide a statement from their doctor stating that a facial covering should not be worn due to their medical condition.
You are required to provide your employees with the appropriate type of face covering, mask, or respirator depending on the level of risk for their specific type of work. For more information and FAQ's regarding the different types of face coverings, visit Common Questions Regarding Worker Face Covering and Mask Requirements.
L&I Adopts Emergency Rules to Force Compliance with Governor Inslee's Safe Start Phased Reopening Plan
WA State L&I adopted new rules to address businesses who are non compliant with Governor Inslee's Stay at Home order and the Safe Start phased reopening plan. The new rules are effective immediately.
The new emergency rules are:
- Employers must not allow employees to perform work where a business activity is prohibited by an emergency proclamation.
- Employers must comply with all conditions for operation required by emergency proclamation, including Safe Start phased reopening requirements for all businesses and any industry specific requirements.
L&I will work with our state Emergency Operations Center to take in and respond to complaints about businesses that are non compliant. If employers are found to be defying the Governor's order, they'll be informed and directed to close or adjust operations immediately. If they do not, they'll face a workplace safety citation that could carry a fine of nearly $10,000 or more. L&I will perform in-person spot checks on some of the businesses to make sure they are following through and complying with the Safe Start requirements.
To view the Safe Start phased reopening plan, visit Safe Start - A Phased Approach to Recovery.
To review the rules established to allow auto sales to reopen and to make sure you're in compliance, view Phase 1 - Resuming Vehicle and Vessel Sales with Additional COVID-19 Requirements.
WSP VIN Inspections Have Resumed
The Washington State Patrol has resumed VIN inspections and you are now able to schedule a VIN inspection. For more information, visit WSP Schedule a VIN Inspection.
Customer Log Requirements Are Now Voluntary
On May 15th Governor Inslee revised the customer log requirements and now customers are no longer required to provide a business with contact information; however, businesses are still obligated to maintain a customer log of those customers who do voluntarily provide their information.
In his statement, Governor Inslee provided a template that businesses may use to log the voluntary contact information. The template can be found here: Voluntary Customer Visitor Log. Or you may develop your own log but it should include time and date, name, phone number, and email address.
You can read Governor Inslee's statement here: Revising Customer Log Requirements.
Auto Sales May Now Reopen Under Phase 1 But Must Follow Additional Guidelines
Governor Inslee has issued additional guidance for the reopening of auto sales under the Safe Start Phase 1 Recovery Plan.
All dealers may reopen immediately if they follow all Phase 1 requirements. No dealer may operate until they can meet and maintain all requirements, including providing materials, schedules, and equipment required to comply.
Office staff may return to work; however, employees who can work remotely are encouraged to do so. All employees - management, office, sales, and support staff - must adhere to the specific additional guidelines as well.
Proclamation 20-46 Stay at Home Order regarding “High Risk Employees –Workers’ Rights” still remains in effect and requires employers to use all available options for alternative work assignments to protect their high-risk employees.
The additional guidance can be viewed here: Phase 1 - Resuming Vehicle and Vessel Sales with Additional COVID-19 Requirements.
To read the Proclamation 20-46 for High Risk Employees - Workers' Rights, view Proclamation 20-46 Stay Home Order for High Risk Employees – Workers’ Rights.
General questions about how to comply with these safety practices can be submitted to the state’s Business Response Center at General Business and Return to Work Inquiries.
WA State Department of Labor & Industries Issues Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention Practices
Businesses who operate under the Stay at Home order are required to maintain coronavirus prevention practices consistent with DOSH, OSHA and Department of Health guidance. Labor & Industries recognizes coronavirus as a very serious workplace hazard.
Employers must implement procedures that incorporate the mitigation and prevention of COVID-19 to help limit the spread of the virus. These procedures are specific to COVID-19 prevention and include:
- Educate workers & customers about COVID-19 and how it spreads.
- Maintain at least 6 feet of spacing at all times.
- Conduct regular cleaning of all areas with frequent cleaning of common-touch surfaces.
- Facilities for frequent hand washing must be made available to workers.
- Establish protocols for sick employees.
WA State Department of Labor & Industries Division of Occupational Safety and Health will be the enforcement agency responsible for compliance. Inspection findings will be done on a case by case basis. These procedures will be re-evaluated as health recommendations and orders evolve.
For more information on this Directive and to make sure you are in compliance, view the Directive here: Labor & Industries Division of Occupational Safety and Health General Coronavirus Prevention Under Stay Home-Stay Healthy Order. For helpful suggestions on how to meet these requirements, visit L&I's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention: General Requirements and Prevention Ideas for Workplaces.
Purchase Orders No Longer Require Emissions Notice
Earlier this year, WA State's emissions check program ended and a vehicle owner is no longer required to have their vehicle’s emissions tested before renewing their registration. In 2005, the Legislature phased out emission testing based on the Department of Ecology’s projection that the emissions program would not be needed by 2020.
RCW 70.120.190 had mandated vehicle dealers to include a notice on their Purchase Orders letting buyers know that they may be required to spend up to $150 for repairs if the vehicle did not meet the vehicle emission standards. Speaking with Cullen Stephenson with the WA State Department of Ecology's Air Quality Program, he states "dealers do not need to comply with this rule any longer."
We will be updating our Purchase Orders and removing this notice in the near future; however, you may still use the old Purchase Orders with the notice if you want.
For more information on the ending of the vehicle emissions program, visit https://ecology.wa.gov/Air-Climate/Air-quality/Vehicle-emissions/Emissions-check-ends.
Starting Later This Year Dealers Will Be Responsible for Paying Tolls
Starting later this year, the Department of Transportation will implement a new billing system that will give them the ability to mail toll bills to dealers for trips made on toll roads while using dealer plates.
The DOT is encouraging all dealers to sign up for a Good to Go! account and purchase a pass. By purchasing a pass, you will pay lower toll rates than without a pass and the toll will automatically be deducted from your account.
If you do not want to purchase a pass, you may just pay the toll fee when you receive the bill in the mail.
To set up an account or to pay a toll bill, visit WSDOT Good to Go! at https://mygoodtogo.com/olcsc/.
If you fail to pay your toll bill, you will be assessed late fees and penalties plus the Department of Licensing may place a hold on your vehicle registration and license, preventing you from renewing tabs or applying for additional licenses.
For more information on setting up an account and purchasing a pass, visit their website at https://mygoodtogo.com/olcsc/ or call DOT's Good To Go! at 1-866-936-8246. Their call center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
NHTSA's Final Rule On Electronic Disclosure Systems and Revision of the Odometer Exemption Effective January 1, 2021
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced their Final Rule that revises the odometer exemption and also allows for individual states to implement their own electronic odometer disclosure system.
The average vehicle age is around 12 years and the NHTSA believes that these older vehicles, that are exempt from mileage disclosure, are at risk for odometer fraud. The NHTSA addresses this issue by increasing the odometer disclosure requirements from vehicles that are less than 10 years old to requiring an odometer disclosure for any vehicle that is less than 20 years old beginning with the model year 2011.
The Final Rule also sets requirements and establishes standards for states to implement their own system to accept odometer disclosures in electronic format. By doing so, the NHTSA states that this will remove the last remaining federal obstacle to paperless motor vehicle title transfers.
We spoke with the Department of Licensing in Olympia. They will be looking to implement an electronic odometer system sometime in the future, but this type of system will take some time.
The Final Rule increasing the odometer disclosure requirements will begin on January 1, 2021.
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.
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: https://www.lni.wa.gov/forms-publications/F700-207-000.pdf.
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.