Wage Theft Ordinance

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 on a regular payday; providing each employee with “notice of employment information”; and providing itemized pay information, establishing basic requirements for payment of wage and tips within city limits. The ordinance requires employers to pay all wages and tips owed to employees, provide written notice to employees, and itemize pay information when employees are paid.

The ordinance requires employers to:

  • Provide written notice to employees at time of hire or change of employment, containing the employer’s name, physical address and contact information, pay rate, pay basis, regular pay day and tip policies.
  • Pay all wages and tips owed to employees on a regular pay day.
  • Provide written notice to employees each time wages and tips are paid detailing employees’ gross wages and tips, rate of pay, pay basis and all deductions.
  • Keep payroll records for no less than 3 years for employees covered under the ordinance.
  • Provide written notice (e.g. poster) to employees that they are entitled to their rights under this ordinance.
  • Provide notice in English, Spanish and other languages commonly spoken at a given work site. OLS will provide notice templates and a workplace poster in English, Spanish and other languages on this web site.

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

Several requirements are new under Seattle’s wage theft ordinance SMC 14.20:

  • Written notice to employees of pay rate and tip policies at time of hire or change of employment.
  • Requirement to pay wages and tips.
  • Written notice of employees’ tips each pay day.
  • Written notice to employees of their rights to wage and tip compensation.

Publications & Resources

Fact Sheets

Notice of Employment

Publications & Resources

Rules and Ordinances

View Rules & Ordinances

The Office of Labor Standards has jurisdiction within Seattle city limits.

If your situation does not qualify for investigation by us, we will refer you to another agency for help.

Map showing Seattle city boundaries

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