Washington Recordkeeping Requirements

Washington employers are required to keep the following records in addition to, or in tandem with, those required under federal law.

Employment of Minors

Pursuant to Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 49.12.121 – 49.12.124, Washington employers must create and maintain records on each minor employed. These records must be maintained for three years from the last date of the minor’s employment and must contain the following for each minor:

  • Employee name, address, and occupation.
  • Dates of employment.
  • Rate(s) of pay.
  • Amount paid each pay period and hours worked.
  • Proof of age. The date of birth must be supported by proof. Acceptable forms of proof are:
    • A driver’s license or passport.
    • A Social Security card along with either a birth certificate or a baptismal record.
    • A notarized statement of a parent or guardian.
  • A copy of the completed parent/school authorization form with any attachments.
  • A copy of any variance obtained by the employer.

Work Permits

Washington employers employing any minor under the age of 18 must obtain a work permit and keep it on file during the employment of the minor. Upon termination of the minor, the employer must return the permit to the Department of Labor and Industries.

Fair Employment Practices

Applicant Records

Pursuant to Wash. Admin. Code 162-12-160, data on protected status may not be recorded on any record that is kept in the applicant’s pre-employment file, nor in any other place or form where it is available to those who process the application. Application records that identify the protected status of a particular person must be kept confidential, except to the extent necessary to implement an affirmative action program as authorized by law, to permit the compilation of statistics, and to permit verification of the statistics by top management or by the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

Post-Employment Records

According to Wash. Admin. Code 162-12-180, employers may make and keep post-employment records regarding a person’s protected status if the records are not used for discriminatory purposes. Employers must keep confidential all pre-employment and post-employment records regarding a person’s protected status.

Apprenticeship/Training Programs

Pursuant to Wash. Admin. Code 296-05-318, Washington employers utilizing apprenticeship or training programs must keep records on selected and rejected applicants for a minimum of five years. These records must allow the identification of minority and female applicants and include the following:

  • Selection of applicants:
    • A summary of the qualifications of each applicant.
    • The basis for evaluation and for selection or rejection of each applicant.
    • The records pertaining to the interviews of applicants.
    • The original application for each applicant.
  • Operation of the apprenticeship program:
    • On-the-job training assignments.
    • Promotion, demotion, layoff, or termination.
    • Rates of pay or other forms of compensation or conditions of work.
    • Hours of training provided on-the-job by work process and in related/supplemental instruction in accordance to the sponsor’s approved plan.
    • Signed and approved training agency agreement forms.
    • Any other records needed by Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council to determine compliance with these rules.
  • Equal employment opportunity plans:
    • A copy of the program’s complete equal employment opportunity plan. All data and analysis made to determine enrollment deficiencies.
    • Evidence that equal employment opportunity plans are reviewed on an annual basis.
    • Evidence that equal employment opportunity plans, goals and timetables are updated when necessary.
  • Documentation necessary to establish a sponsor’s good faith effort in implementing its equal employment opportunity plan:
    • Who was contacted.
    • When the contacts were made.
    • Where the contacts occurred.
    • How the contacts were made.
    • The content of each contact.
  • Qualification standards: Evidence that the sponsor’s qualification standards meet the requirements of Wash. Admin Code 296-05-316.

Prevailing Wage

According to Wash. Admin. Code 269-127-320, each contractor must keep accurate payroll records for three years from the date of acceptance of the public works project by the contract awarding agency, showing the name, address, Social Security number, trade or occupation, straight time rate, hourly rate of usual benefits as defined by Wash. Admin. Code 296-127-014(1), and overtime hours worked each day and week, including any employee authorizations executed pursuant to Wash. Admin. Code 296-127-022, and the actual rate of wages paid, for each laborer, worker, and mechanic employed by the contractor for work performed on a public works project.

Unemployment Compensation

According to the Washington Employment Security Department, Washington employers must keep the following information on file for each employee for at least four years from the date taxes were paid:

  • Employee name and Social Security number.
  • Dates of employment.
  • Basis of pay (such as hourly or monthly).
  • Location of work.
  • Daily record of hours worked.
  • Gross pay for each pay period.
  • Payroll reductions for each pay period.
  • Reason for discharge or for quitting, if applicable.

Employers must also keep records for each employee that the employer is not required to report for at least four years from the end of the year in which the employee was paid.

Wage and Hour

Minimum Wage Act

Pursuant to Wash. Admin. Code 296-128-010, employers must keep the following records for employees covered by the Minimum Wage Act:

  • Name in full, and on the same record, the employee’s identifying symbol or number if such is used in place of name on any time, work, or payroll records. This must be the same name as that used for Social Security record purposes.
  • Home address.
  • Occupation in which employed.
  • Date of birth if under 18.
  • Time of day and day of week on which the employee’s workweek begins. If the employee is part of a workforce or employed in or by an establishment all of whose workers have a workweek beginning at the same time on the same day, a single notation of the time of the day and beginning day of the workweek for the whole workforce or establishment will suffice. If, however, any employee or group of employees has a workweek beginning and ending at a different time, a separate notation must then be kept for that employee or group of employees;
  • Hours worked each workday and total hours worked each workweek. A workday is any consecutive 24 hours).
  • Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings or wages; that is, the total earnings or wages due for hours worked during the workday or workweek, including all earnings or wages due during any overtime worked, but exclusive of overtime excess compensation.
  • Total overtime excess compensation for the workweek; that is, the excess compensation for overtime worked which amount is over and above all straight-time earnings or wages also earned during overtime worked.
  • Total additions to or deductions from wages paid each pay period. Every employer making additions to or deductions from wages must also maintain a record of the dates, amounts, and nature of the items which make up the total additions and deductions.
  • Total wages paid each pay period.
  • Date of payment and the pay period covered by payment.
  • Paid sick leave accruals each month, and any unused paid sick leave available for use by an employee.
  • Paid sick leave reductions each month including, but not limited to: Paid sick leave used by an employee, paid sick leave donated to a co-worker through a shared leave program, or paid sick leave not carried over to the following year.
  • The date of commencement of employment.

Employers may use symbols where names or figures are called for so long as such symbols are uniform and defined.

The records must be kept for three years and open for inspection or transcription by the Director of Labor and Industries or an authorized representative at any reasonable time.

Industrial Welfare

Pursuant to Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 49.12.005 – 49.12.903, employers covered by the Industrial Welfare Act (IWA) must keep records of the following:

  • The names of all employees.
  • The address and occupation of each employee.
  • Dates of employment.
  • Rate or rates of pay, amount paid each pay period, and the hours worked.

Records must be kept for three years. These records include the original time records, including dates and hours worked, recorded on time sheets, time clocks, time cards, computer-generated time records, video camera (if used as a means of record keeping by the employer), or any other method of recording hours worked.

Workers’ Compensation

Employment Records

Pursuant to Wash. Admin. Code 296-17-35201, employers must keep records that will allow the Department of Labor and Industries to compute premiums. These records must be kept for three years and be open for inspection or duplication by the department. Records must include the following information on each employee:

  • Employee name, address and Social Security number.
  • Date hired (and terminated, if applicable).
  • Job title and type of work performed.
  • Type of compensation (hourly, salary, commission, etc.).
  • Pay period.
  • Actual hours worked each day.
  • Gross pay.
  • Deductions from earnings and the purpose of each deduction.
  • Net pay.
  • Check numbers of checks issued.

In addition to payroll and time records, the following tax records must be maintained for at least three years:

  • Unemployment tax returns from the Employment Security Department.
  • State excise tax returns from the Department of Revenue.
  • Internal Revenue Service forms and tax returns. For example, W-2 statements, Form 941 (quarterly report), Form 1099 (miscellaneous income), Form 1065 (partnership return), Form 1040 (Schedule C).

Other records and information that may need to be referenced include:

  • Check registers.
  • Canceled checks.
  • Cash disbursement journal (materials and supplies; miscellaneous contract labor).
  • Corporation documents, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and minutes of meetings.
  • Contracts, invoices, financial statements, worksheets maintained for industrial insurance reports, and subcontractor records, specifically:
    • Legal name.
    • Registration or license number.
    • UBI or L&I account ID number.

Accident Records

According to the Wash. Admin. Code 296-17-35201, employers must maintain accurate records of work-related deaths and of injuries and illnesses requiring treatment beyond first aid.

Accident-related records that should be kept are:

  • The injured worker’s Report of Accident.
  • The supervisor’s Report of Accident.
  • Industrial insurance claim log.
  • Claim date record.
  • OSHA 300 log, if the employer has 10 or more employees at all times during the calendar year at all of its business locations combined.

Employers must keep and make available to the Department of Labor and Industries records of the employers’ activities related to employees’ health and safety. Employers are also required to maintain accurate records of employees’ exposure to potentially toxic materials or harmful physical agents.

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