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HELP!? Laws for workers in the automotive industry.. Washington

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  • HELP!? Laws for workers in the automotive industry.. Washington

    My girlfriend has worked as an automotive tech for 5 years and during that whole time she just received an hourly rate.
    She's been unemployed for the last year and just got a job offer and tried the job out this entire last week.

    The employer wants to pay her 30% commission on all jobs only.
    She's on her 5th day and at 50 hours.... should she be getting paid overtime?? and how does that work when she's commission only..?

    Also are there any laws pertaining to the fact that her employer is requiring her to bring in her own tools?
    --In California the law states that when an employer requires tools for the job their wages must be at least 2 times the amount of minimum wage. (Sec 45.5.7 http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/DLSEManua...enfcmanual.pdf)

    Do we have any rules similar to that in Washington state?

    If there are any helpful references please let me know! Thanks for your time!

  • #2
    Does she work for a dealership or for an independent garage? This is critical to the overtime pay question.

    Washington does not have anything similar to California as to requiring double MW if employee provides his own tools.

    She must receive the equivalent of minimum wage for all hours worked (gross pay / total hours).
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    • #3
      Auto mechanics must be paid at least minimum wage (average) on a workweek basis. I am not saying that the employee must be paid hourly. It is very common for auto mechanics to legally be paid piece work (flag, commission, whatever). HOWEVER, the calculation on a workweek basis cannot legally pay less then MW. This is federal law (FLSA), meaning valid in all 50 states. This is also very black letter law, meaning not remotely subject to legal debate. Examples.

      - Jan earns 3 "flags" during the workweek. Each flag is worth $30, or $90 total. Jan works 10 hours. MW (federal) is $7.25/hr, meaning $72.50 is MW requirement for this week. The employer is required to pay the greater of flag rates ($90) or MW ($72.50). Meaning $90.
      - Dean earns 3 "flags" during the workweek. Each flag is worth $30, or $90 total. Jan worked 20 hours. MW (federal) is $7.25, meaning $145 is MW requirement for this week. The employer is required to pay the greater of flag rates ($90) or MW ($145). Meaning $145.

      All of the above is very black letter law, meaning the employer will get hammered in court if they try to avoid it.

      -------

      Overtime is complicated. If the auto mechanic is working for an Auto Dealer, then the MW requirement for all hours worked is required, but no OT premium is required. However, the exact same employee doing exactly the same work for a non-auto-dealer employer is required to pay a 50% OT premium for all hours worked past 40 in the workweek.

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      The CA "twice minimum wage if you supply tools" is a CA rule only. Not required in WA.

      Past that, I do not know what WA MW is. Could be higher then the federal MW I used in the example.
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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      • #4
        independent garage

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        • #5
          Meaning subject to the normal OT rules. Or possible the Retail/Service Establishment exception (7(i)), but that only makes sense if there is both a lot of overtime and a lot of commissions.
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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