Washington State 2023 Salary Threshold Change

Posted: November 16, 2022

By: Human Resources

Dear SU Community,

I am writing today about a change in state regulations that will affect many of our staff colleagues as we enter the new calendar year.

As you know, SU complies with federal, state, and local laws relating to employee wages and hours, including the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Washington State Minimum Wage Act (MWA). These laws require the university to provide overtime pay to employees for any work hours exceeding 40 hours in a given workweek unless that employee is “exempt” from these laws.

Our faculty colleagues (and some staff members) whose primary duty is teaching, coaching, instructing, or lecturing are fully “exempt” from these laws regardless of their salary amount. In addition, many of our staff colleagues perform duties that meet the laws’ exemptions for “Executive, Administrative, or Professional” positions. Unlike teaching professionals, however, positions falling within the “Executive, Administrative, or Professional” exemptions are subject to a state-required minimum salary to be classified as “exempt.”

In 2019, at the direction of Governor Inslee, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) published a new schedule of minimum salary thresholds through January 1, 2028. The annually increasing salary thresholds specifically apply to the many university positions within the “Executive, Administrative, and Professional” exemptions. For January 1, 2023, the minimum salary threshold to satisfy the law’s “Executive, Administrative and Professional” exemption will be $65,478.40 per year ($1,259.20 per week). This means that the university’s “Executive, Administrative or Professional” staff members who earn less than $65,478.40 as of January 1, 2023—along with tens of thousands of similarly situated employees across the state—will no longer be “exempt.” HR will reclassify those employees as “nonexempt” on January 1, 2023. The minimum salary threshold will increase through January 1, 2028, at which time it is projected to reach $93,288. It will continue to increase annually thereafter based on inflation.

Critically, the “nonexempt” classification is not a reflection of the importance of a position. All our faculty and staff, regardless of whether they are “exempt” or “nonexempt,” perform important work in support of our mission. Reclassifying certain staff as “nonexempt” simply guarantees that those staff members will be paid for all hours worked and paid at time-and-a-half their hourly rate for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek, which was Governor Inslee’s exact goal in making the change. In addition, work volume is dependent on operational needs and work must be performed to meet those needs. Managers will need to assess staffing patterns and design the work to balance resources and overtime. Human Resources will provide training and share best practices to guide supervisors through the impact of these changes.

HR will provide more information in the coming days, including supervisor guidance and direct communications to staff colleagues directly impacted.

Especially in changing times, thank you so much for your hard work and all you do for Seattle University and our campus community.  

Jerron Lowe, J.D.

Vice President for Human Resources
SU People and Culture Strategies