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Wage information explained: the devil is in the details

By February 13, 2023May 17th, 2023News, Politics, Wage loss payments
Two hard working people using a special saw and talking about wage information

How much do you really make? 

Seems obvious enough, but it isn’t. What’s the minimum? What’s the maximum? What about benefits, and how much are they really contributing? Great questions for all prospective employees. 

Washington recently passed Senate Bill 5761, which directs all employers to submit wage information to prospective employees upon request. They must also furnish this information if you move jobs within the company (again, you must make the request). Note that these rules only apply to businesses with at least 15 employees.

Why does wage information matter?

Cause you wanna know, right?! If you’re applying for a job, you want to know exactly what’s on the table. Perhaps more importantly, workers who have been injured on the job may find their time loss and other benefits significantly delayed if their employer doesn’t furnish wage information to the Department. 

Let me stop and emphasize that — if you can’t show exactly how much you make at work, you may be delayed or denied benefits when you need them the most! 

The Department counts hourly wages, overtime, bonuses, healthcare benefits (or at least the amount your employer contributes for them), and potentially even reimbursed housing, food, and fuel expenses when calculating your monthly wage. If you can’t provide documentation of these amounts, your claim manager may wait to issue your wage order and benefits until your employer responds to their request (generally sometime between now and the apocalypse). 

As technology advances in the world of HR and employee information is distributed through an online “portal,” workers don’t often keep track of anything but the bottom line – how much is my check? The information that goes into that number is important, and you have a right to know.

Currently, this bill, as written, seems to only compel employers to furnish information by prospective employees and current employees looking to transfer to another job within the company. It is too early to say how the bill may ultimately be put into action by the courts, and hopefully, this will end up being a tool you or your attorney can use to compel businesses to submit this information to all employees upon request. 

So in the meantime, when was the last time you actually looked at your pay stub??

Protect yo’ chicken!

Ok, the Marshawn Lynch Era in Seattle may be over, but the message is still very important. You need to know how much your employer is paying you, and how much you get for benefits, overtime, bonuses, etc. (and I suppose poultry too, if that’s part of your compensation package). 

If you receive paper paystubs from work, keep the last three months worth at all times. Find a folder or a drawer, and keep ‘em. If you get hurt on the job and have to wait on your employer to submit this info before you can get time loss benefits to pay your bills, you’ll wish you had the stubs.

If you have online access to an HR portal or other payroll software, check to make sure the information is accessible and that it’s correct. I am still surprised by how often people think they can access this information online only to find out the information they can access is woefully lacking. If you can’t see your wages, overtime, vacation, healthcare contributions, bonuses, tips, or any other information you think should be there, talk to your employer now before it’s too late.

KEY TAKEAWAY: If you’ve recently been hurt on the job and you typically do have access to an HR portal or app with this information, log in and download, print, and copy this information immediately. You would be shocked to find out how many times we see an employee injured, file a claim, then mysteriously lose access to their HR portal.

Seeking out professional legal help with Carlisle + Byers 

If you have been issued a wage order in your workers’ compensation (L&I) claim and you’re unsure if it’s correct, or if your employer is slow-playing your request for wage information on your claim, call us for help. You may be leaving more on the table than you think. To schedule a free consultation with us, click here to submit your request.