House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
Labor & Workforce Development Committee
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Requiring employers to reimburse employees for work-related expenses.
Sponsors: Representatives Sells, Moscoso and Ryu.
Hearing Date: 1/28/14
Staff: Trudes Tango (786-7384).
Washington's statutes do not specifically address reimbursement of work-related expenses incurred by employees, except for uniforms. Employers are not required to provide or compensate employees for apparel that an employer requires an employee to wear during working hours unless the required apparel is a uniform. The statute defines what constitutes a uniform.
Under federal law, required uniforms and items such as equipment that benefit the employer are generally considered business expenses. The employer may require the employee to pay for such items, but not if the cost reduces the employee's wage below the minimum wage or cuts into overtime compensation.
Summary of Bill:
An employer must reimburse its employee for all necessary business expenses incurred by the employee at the request of the employer and in direct consequence of the discharge of the employee's duties.
"Necessary business expenses" may include expenses for the cost of cell phones, phone chargers, and other equipment.
If an employer does not reimburse the employee as required, the employee may bring a civil action. The court must award a prevailing employee reasonable attorneys' fees, costs, and interest.
Fiscal Note: Not requested.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.