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Wage Lien Legislation Proposes Liens Against Employer’s Personal Property

January 31, 2020

UPDATE: SB 6053, the wage lien bill, remains in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means, but lawmakers are currently working on it, meaning it could move at any time. There is a scheduled public hearing in the committee Feb. 5 at 3:30 p.m. We will update you on any changes.

SB 6053 would allow employees to file a lien for unpaid wages against an employer’s personal or business property along with the property of any officers of the company.

There are many problems with this bill, including the fact that the new wage lien would be superior to security on the property that is part of a bank loan or other financing. At a minimum, this would inject more risk into lending and finance decisions, ultimately raising the cost of capital for builders.

There is currently a system in place in Washington for employees to file wage complaints with the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). This system would mostly avoid the need for aggrieved workers to hire attorneys. Instead, it is meant to be accessible and straightforward. If it’s not meeting this goal, then L&I should look inward to improve its system rather than creating an expensive mess that benefits no one but the plaintiff’s attorneys.

BIAW, bankers, and other business groups strongly oppose SB 6053.

SB 6053 is scheduled to be voted out of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee Thursday, Jan. 23.

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