Washington Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses

Under the Washington Revised Code Annotated section 49.46.130, employers must provide employees with overtime pay if the employees work longer than 40 hours in one workweek. Overtime pay is calculated as one and one-half times the worker’s usual pay rate. The workweek is calculated as seven consecutive days and typically begins on a Monday and ends on the following Sunday. The employer may change the workweek to begin on any day he or she believes is in the best interests of the organization. The employer may not manipulate workweeks to avoid paying overtime. Employers are not required to pay overtime to any employee who works longer than eight hours in a single shift if the weekly total does not exceed 40 hours.

Under the Washington Administrative Code Sections 296-126-092 and 296, 131, 020, All employers must provide a 30-minute meal break if the work period or shift is longer than five consecutive hours. The break must not be less than two hours from the beginning of the shift and not more than five hours from the beginning of the shift. If the employee is on duty or not completely relieved of work duties, the break must be paid. Employees working three or more hours longer than a regular work day (as defined by the employment agreement ) are entitle dot an addition one-half hour of break time either before or during overtime.

Rest breaks are required and must be paid. Employers must provide employees with a ten-minute rest break for each four-hour period worked and should be scheduled as close as possible to the middle of the work shift. An employee shall never be required to work more than three hours without a rest break. Rest breaks must be scheduled with respect to the nature of the work and employers may permit intermittent rest breaks equivalent to the required standard if necessary.
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