RCW 49.48 Washington

The Legislature has evidenced a strong policy in favor of payment of wages due employees by enacting a comprehensive scheme to ensure payment of wages which provide both criminal and civil penalties for the willful failure of an employer to pay wages. See United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 1001 v. Mutual Benefit Life Ins. Co., 84 Wn. App. 47, 51-52, 925 P.2d 212 (1996) (citing from chapters 49.46 and 49.48 RCW, and noting RCW 49.52.050 in discussing the statutory scheme of state laws granting employees nonnegotiable, substantive rights regarding minimum standards for working conditions, wages, and the payment of wages). In RCW 49.48, the Legislature mandated that employers pay employees all wages due upon the conclusion of the employment relationship and banned all withholding or diversion of wages by employers unless specifically approved by statute. RCW 49.48.010. The Legislature allowed recovery of attorney fees in actions to recover wages due. RCW 49.48.030. The Department of Labor and Industries was given concurrent administrative enforcement powers for claims of failure to pay wages. RCW 49.48.040-.070.