Washington's minimum wage jumps to $9.19 per hour in January

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

Updated: September 28, 2012, 4:48 PM

 
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Washington state’s minimum wage increases by 15 cents to $9.19 an hour starting on New Year’s Day, the state Department of Labor & Industries announced Friday.

The state’s minimum wage is adjusted each year for inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index over the preceding 12 months. This past year, it is up 1.67 percent. The yearly recalculation is required by Initiative 688, which Washington voters passed in 1998.

The 2013 increase is 22 cents less than the 37 cent minimum wage raise that was ushered in earlier this year. That wage hike took Washington’s minimum wage from $8.67 per hour in 2011 to $9.04 an hour in 2012.

While Washington’s current minimum wage rate is already the highest state minimum, the city of San Francisco has the nation’s highest minimum wage, which topped the double-digit mark this year at $10.24 per hour. Oregon’s rate will jump to $8.95 on Jan. 1, up from its current rate of $8.80. The federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Washington’s minimum wage applies to workers in both agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, although 14- to 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.68 per hour in 2012, according to L&I.

Washington is one of 10 states that adjust the minimum wage based on inflation and the CPI. The others are: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon and Vermont.

California’s minimum wage is $8 per hour. In Idaho, minimum-wage workers are paid the federal minimum wage and the minimum for tipped employees is $3.35 per hour. That state’s minimum for new hires younger than 20 is $4.25 per hour, but only for the first 90 calendar days of employment, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.