The minimum wage is going up again in Washington State on January 1st. It’s a pretty significant increase, about nine percent from 2022, and will put Washington State as the highest in nation among States (Washington DC will have a higher minimum wage).
The State’s minimum wage currently sits at $14.49 per hour and will go up another $1.25 on January 1st to reach $15.74 per hour. So will you see an increase in your check at the start of the new year? It depends…because a raise in the minimum wage doesn’t mean it applies across the board.
Who gets a raise?
Anyone in a paid hourly position that is 16 years of age or older that makes the minimum wage rate will get an automatic bump. Workers in a salary equal to the minimum wage will also receive an increase. Many jobs in the food and retail service industries and other jobs considered “entry level” will most likely see a bump. If you have a job where your salary is negotiated through collective bargaining, you might get a bump if in your contract it calls for increases to salary based on a minimum wage hike. Those in the workforce that are 14 and 15 years old get 85 percent of the minimum wage, or $13.38 per hour.
Why such a big bump?
The minimum wage in Washington State is again tied to the Consumer Price Index (from 2017 to 2020 it was tied to mandates increases as a result of Initiative 1433). In 2021 it went back to being tied to the CPI,(initially established for Washington state’s minimum wage in 1998 through Initiative 688) which reflects the change consumers pay for good over a period of time. Due to inflation and supply chain issues, the cost of goods increased in a number of places, hence reflected in the nearly 9 percent hike for 2023.
Who doesn’t get the increase?
Most salaried employees will not see an increase as a number those jobs already start at a higher rate than the minimum wage. There are no stipulations that require an employer paying above the minimum wage to raise wages when the minimum increases, so many exempt workers (those that cannot receive overtime) will not see an increase unless their employer decides to give them one.
Minimum Wage increases are calculated by the Department of License and Industry each September, and announced on 30th of that month, to take effect the following January.
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