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Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Dec. 5, 2023

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WA minimum wage to increase to $16.28 an hour next year


Washington state’s minimum wage will increase to $16.28 an hour in January, up 54 cents from the current rate.

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries calculates the minimum wage for the coming year based on federal estimates of price increases. The 3.37% increase announced Friday reflects rising costs of housing, food, medical care and other expenses as shown in the Consumer Price Index.

Washington’s current minimum wage of $15.74 an hour — up $1.25 from 2021 — is the highest state-level minimum wage in the nation, according to state labor officials.

Cities in Washington can set minimum wages higher than the state’s, which is the case in Seattle, SeaTac and Tukwila. Seattle’s minimum wage is $18.69 an hour for most workers. SeaTac’s is $19.06. The federal minimum hourly wage, unchanged since 2009, is $7.25.

The state minimum wage applies to workers age 16 and older. For workers ages 14-15, employers can pay 85% of the minimum wage, which will be $13.84 per hour in 2024.

L&I has also calculated new minimum salary requirements for managers and other employees who are exempt from overtime rules. The 2024 minimum salary for overtime-exempt employees is $67,724.80 a year, two times what a full-time minimum-wage worker earns.

Since 2020, the department has been incrementally increasing overtime pay rates, which are set to reach 2.5 times regular pay in 2028. The pace of the increase is based on the size of the employer.

Minimum-pay rules for rideshare drivers, one of the protections included in legislation passed in 2022, also go into effect Jan. 1. The rate varies by location, the department said; for trips within Seattle, drivers will earn 66 cents per passenger minute and $1.55 per passenger mile, or $5.81 a trip, whichever is greater. For trips outside of Seattle, drivers will earn 38 cents per passenger minute and $1.31 per passenger mile, or $3.37 a trip, whichever is greater.

Employers or workers can find more information on wage laws and make complaints on the L&I website, lni.wa.gov, or by calling 360-902-5316 or 1-866-219-7321.

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