Thanks to a ballot initiative that voters approved in 2016, the Washington minimum wage rose to $12 an hour Jan. 1. The law mandates a further increase to $13.50 next January, to be followed by annual increases based on inflation. The law makes no exception for tipped workers or farm workers, but workers under 16 years old may legally be paid 85 percent of the minimum wage, or $10.20 per hour.
Wages also rose Jan. 1 in the cities of Seattle, Tacoma, and SeaTac, which have their own even higher minimum wage rate schedules. Seattle’s minimum wage rose to $15 per hour, and $16 per hour for large employers with over 500 workers worldwide. Tacoma’s rose to $12.35. SeaTac’s rate, which is just for hospitality and transportation workers, rose to $16.09.
The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009.
Oregon’s minimum wage — currently $10.50 to $12 depending on region of the state — will increase on July 1 to from $11 to $12.50.