Wage Theft

Ordinance SMC: 14.20

Wage Theft Ordinance Q&A

Seattle's Wage Theft Ordinance went into effect on April 1, 2015.

The Wage Theft Ordinance provides protections against wage theft by requiring payment for all compensation owed for work performed within Seattle city limits, requirement payment on a regular pay day, and to provide certain written notice to employees about their pay information and rights.

The ordinance requires employers to:

  • Pay all compensation owed to employees on a regular pay day that occurs no longer than every month. Compensation includes, but is not limited to: wages, tips, and reimbursements for employer expenses.
  • Provide written notice to employees each time wages and tips are paid. The notice must detail employees' hours worked (regular and overtime shown separately), gross wages and tips, rate(s) of pay, pay basis and all deductions.
  • Provide written "notice of employment information" to employees containing the employer's name, physical address and contact information, pay rate(s), pay basis, regular pay day and tip policies. This information must be provided at time of hire and each time information changes and must be provided in English, Spanish and other languages commonly spoken at a given work site.
  • Display the annual Labor Standards Workplace Poster in English, Spanish, and other languages commonly spoken at the worksite. This poster provides notice to employees of their rights under this ordinance.
  • Provide the "notice of employment information" in English, Spanish and other languages commonly spoken at a given work site.
  • Keep payroll records for no less than 3 years for employees covered under the ordinance.

Many of these requirements already exist under Washington State's minimum wage and wage payment laws.

Annual Workplace Poster and Model Notice of Employment Information: The most updated annual Labor Standards Workplace Poster and model Notice of Employment Information are available for download in English on our Resources page.  This poster and model notice are also available in Spanish and multiple other languages on the Language Access pages.

Wage Theft Fact Sheets. OLS provides Fact Sheets on the Wage Theft Ordinance, including on common wage theft topics like service charges and meal and rest breaks. These documents are available on our Resources page.

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The Office of Labor Standards enforces Seattle’s labor standards ordinances to protect workers and educate employers on their responsibilities.