Minimum wage increases to $12 an hour

The minimum wage in Washington will increase to $12 per hour starting January 1.

Wages will be increasing for millions of low-income workers across the U.S. as the new year ushers in new laws in numerous states.

New minimum wage requirements will take effect in 20 states and nearly two dozen cities.

While the entire state will need to provide $12 per hour for workers age 16 and older, Seattle’s largest employers will have to pay workers at least $16 an hour starting Tuesday.

That’s more than twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), who enforces the state’s wage-and-hour laws, reminds business owners that 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.

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