Category Archives: Minimum Wage

Washington Minimum Wage Climbs to $12 in 2019

Initiative 1433, approved by Washington voters in 2016, requires a statewide minimum wage of $11.00 in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12.00 in 2019, and $13.50 in 2020. The minimum wage in Washington will increase to $12 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2019, for workers age 16 and older.

The cities of SeaTac, Seattle, and Tacoma have their own minimum wage rates. SeaTac’s minimum wage rate is $16.09 per hour in 2019. In Seattle, small employers (with 500 or fewer employees) must pay at least $15.00 per hour. The Tacoma minimum wage is $12.35.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, Washington was one of 19 states raising the minimum wages on January 1, meaning wage increases for more than 5 million Americans. An estimated 337,100 workers in Washington got a raise. Thanks to all the workers in Seatac, Seattle, Tacoma and across the state who fought for and won these raises to the minimum wage!

For more information on the minimum wage or your other rights on the job, check out www.fairworkcenter.org.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) enforces the state’s wage-and-hour laws, which includes the minimum wage. The state minimum wage applies to most jobs, including those in agriculture.

Under state law, tips do not count toward a worker’s minimum wage. Also, employers can pay workers under 16 years old 85 percent of the minimum wage. For 2019, that comes out to $10.20 per hour.

When Initiative 1433 passed in the fall of 2016, it set a schedule for Washington’s minimum wage over a four-year period. As a result, in 2020 the state minimum wage will climb to $13.50. For the following year, L&I will calculate the minimum wage by using a formula tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

Complete information about the minimum wage is available on L&I’s website (Lni.wa.gov), including details about handling overtime, rest breaks and meals. There’s also a minimum wage announcement online that employers can print off and post.

L&I investigates all wage-payment complaints. More information about wage and hour laws and workplace rights is available on L&I’s webpage. Employers and workers may also call 360-902-5316 or 1-866-219-7321.

Photo by Urban Isthmus on Visualhunt.com / CC BY

WA Minimum Wage Climbing to $11 in 2017; Paid Sick Leave Starting in 2018

The minimum wage in Washington will increase to $11 an hour starting on Jan. 1, 2017. The new minimum wage, a result of the passage of Initiative 1433 in November’s election, applies to all jobs, including those in agriculture. Workers under 16 years old can be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $9.35 per hour, in 2017. In addition to minimum wage, the initiative addresses paid sick leave.

Seattle, Tacoma, and the City of SeaTac have higher minimum wage rates for 2017. For employers in those areas, the local minimum wage rate will apply as long as it is higher than the state minimum. The new law does not change minimum wage exemptions or regulations regarding overtime pay.

Since 1998, L&I has been responsible for calculating the state’s minimum wage each September. Under Initiative 1433, the minimum wage will increase to $13.50 by 2020. L&I will resume calculating the minimum wage for calendar years 2021 and beyond.

Paid sick leave starting in 2018

Along with increasing the state minimum wage, the initiative requires employers to provide paid sick leave starting Jan. 1, 2018.

Under the initiative, L&I must adopt rules to enforce the new requirement, including, “…procedures for notification to employees and reporting regarding sick leave, and protecting employees from retaliation for the lawful use of sick leave…”

The official rulemaking process, which will include public comment opportunities, will take place in 2017. Interested parties can sign up for updates on the process on L&I’s Employment Standards Program listserv.

L&I enforces the state’s wage-and-hour laws. The agency investigates all wage-payment complaints. More information on Washington’s minimum wage is available on L&I’s wage and hour webpage. Employers and workers may also call 360-902-5316 or 1-866-219-7321.

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Kit Case, Causey Wright's Paralegal & Media Manager

States Will #RaiseTheWage for More Than 2 Million Workers

By  on November 10, 2016 – –

It has been almost four years since President Obama called on Congress to increase the federal minimum wage. While Congress has refused to take action, this hasn’t dissuaded states and localities from stepping up and giving American workers the raises they need and deserve. Election Day was no exception. Voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington cast their ballots to ensure that hard work is rewarded with a fair wage.

The resounding win for minimum wage ballot initiatives in these states will collectively result in nearly 2.2 million workers getting a raise.*

  • In Arizona, the minimum wage will be raised to $12 by 2020, lifting the earnings of 779,000 workers. Flagstaff passed an even bigger raise − $15 by 2021.
  • In Colorado, the minimum wage will be raised to $12 by 2020, lifting the earnings of 477,000 workers.
  • In Maine, the minimum wage will be raised to $12 by 2020, lifting the earnings of 181,000 workers.
  • In Washington, the minimum wage will be raised to $13.50 by 2020, lifting the earnings of 730,000 workers.

The Election Day results are another reminder that for most Americans, raising the minimum wage isn’t a partisan issue but rather a commonsense decision. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia – home to 61 percent of all U.S. workers − have minimum wage rates above the federal rate of $7.25.

Voters and policymakers in these states understand what labor economists have spent decades researching and confirming: minimum wage increases have caused little to no significant job loss, but they have reduced employee turnover, strengthened families’ finances, and ultimately helped grow our economy. As our economy continues to recover from the greatest economic crisis in generations, we should all share in the prosperity we are building. And there is no easier way to do that than by raising the minimum wage.

By casting their ballots for a fair wage, the residents of Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington renewed President Obama’s call to take action. It’s time raise the minimum wage for all workers in America.

Dr. Heidi Shierholz is the department’s chief economist.

*Source: The Economic Policy Institute.

Note: In Arizona and Washington, the approved minimum wage ballot initiatives also require employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Expanding access to paid sick leavehas been another top priority of the Obama administration, and these ballot victories will help thousands more workers be able to address their health needs without putting their or their families’ economic security at risk.

DOL: 7 Facts about the Minimum Wage

Sunday, July 24, marked seven years since the last time the federal minimum wage was raised. Here are seven things you might not know about it:

1. It doesn’t go nearly as far today.
Since the last time it was raised – to $7.25 in 2009 − the cost of living has increased by nearly 12 percent. And its value has declined over the past few decades: since Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, the value of the minimum wage has fallen by nearly 20 percent, and since 1968 – when the purchasing power of the minimum wage was at its highest – its value has fallen by nearly 25 percent.

2. Historically, there has been bipartisan support for regular increases.
Since the federal minimum wage was established under President Franklin Roosevelt, 10 presidents − of both parties – have approved raises.
Animated map showing the 18 states that have raised the minimum wage, along with the District of Columbia

3. 18 states and the District of Columbia have taken action to raise their minimum wages since President Obama first called for an increase in January 2013. Numerous cities and localities have done the same.

4. The majority of Americans supports raising the minimum wage above $7.25.
A majority of business executives do, too, according to a leaked survey.

5. Companies large and small have raised wages for their lowest-paid employees.
A few of biggest include Ikea, Gap, Walmart, Target and T.J. Maxx.

6. Most workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase are adults.
About 9 out of 10 are age 20 or over. More than half are women.

7. The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is even lower.
It’s only $2.13 – and it hasn’t been raised since 1991.

Bonus fact: Seven recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences say it’s the smart thing and the right thing to do.

Share this if you agree it’s time to #RaiseTheWage for all hardworking Americans. Learn more at dol.gov/minwage.

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