New legislation recently introduced in the Washington State Legislature seeks to implement a 32-hour workweek for nonexempt Washington-based workers. If the proposal were to become law, employers would be required to pay overtime compensation to nonexempt employees whose workweeks exceed 32 hours.

Senate Bill (SB) 6516 proposes to amend RCW 49.46.130, the Washington law that establishes a 40-hour workweek in the state. Because the proposal would amend but not replace the existing law, the current exemptions would remain applicable—and none have been amended by the proposed bill. Instead, the bill's proposed changes merely—but monumentally—revise the references in RCW 49.46.130 from a 40-hour workweek to a 32-hour workweek.

The lead cosponsor of SB 6516 is Washington State Senator Joe Nguyen. In several interviews, Senator Nguyen seems to view the proposal as a "conversation" starter and a "concept" to begin discussing. Because it appears to be a preliminary measure, we do not expect the proposal to pass, but we will continue to follow SB 6516 closely and provide legislative updates as necessary on the firm's Washington blog.

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