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Ensuring Workplace Safety: Understanding Washington's New Law on Warehouse Quotas

Washington's House Bill (HB) 1762, effective July 1, 2024, is a significant step towards addressing high injury rates in warehouse distribution centers. This law, which applies to employers with over 100 nonexempt employees in a single warehouse or more than 1,000 across multiple centers, ensures a safer and more productive work environment. Key points from the law include a clear definition of quotas, which encompasses productivity measures such as "productive time" or "time on task," with provisions for adverse actions in case of non-compliance. It also emphasizes the inclusion of breaks and safe workplace practices in productive time. Employers are required to communicate quotas in plain language and the employee's preferred language and to update any changes promptly.

Additionally, maintaining accurate work speed and aggregate data and preserving records for the duration of employment and three years post-separation is mandated. Employees have the right to request quota descriptions and their work speed data, with protection against retaliation. The law also designates the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) to oversee enforcement, investigate complaints, and conduct self-audits. Civil penalties range from $1,000 to $10,000, and employers must correct prohibited quotas within 15 days and compensate for rest or meal period violations. Employers play a crucial role in ensuring compliance with HB 1762. Reviewing and adjusting their quota systems can empower their workforce and contribute to a safer work environment.


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