Working at a job site as an owner

Small Business Owners may have to pay the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries an unexpected fine if the employer works at a job site without an employee.

Business owners are normally exempt from reporting their hours. However, a business owner who works at a job site alone, as an employee, must report the hours worked as if the employer were an employee. If the employer is caught at a job site (through invoices, or a compliance check) then L&I will require the business owners hours to be reported and paid to the state at the highest possible risk classification. L&I will also charge late fees (because the hours weren't reported at the time they were worked) and other fines. It can add up quickly.

If you're a business owner such as a carpenter, plumber, or other trade, and you run to a job site to finish a quick project, always take an employee with you to avoid an L&I fine.

Elizabeth Steen has 10 years experience in regulatory compliance and agency regulation. She’s worked in the United States Senate and as a contractor with federal and state agencies that include TSA, DHS, and the SEC.

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