Washington’s new, higher minimum wage takes effect Jan. 1, 2015. The 15-cent increase to $9.47 was announced by the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) in September.
The change reflects a 1.59 percent increase in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) over the last 12 months ending Aug. 31. The Consumer Price Index reflects the cost of goods and services needed for day-to-day living.
L&I calculates the state’s minimum wage each year as required under Initiative 688, which Washington voters approved in 1998. The hourly increase will mean an additional $312 per year for a full-time worker receiving minimum wage.
The minimum wage applies to workers in all industries, including agriculture. Youth who are 14 or 15 years old can be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $8.05 an hour.
Washington has the highest state minimum wage in the nation, followed by Oregon, where the minimum wage will increase to $9.25 — an increase of 15 cents — in 2015.
Washington is one of at least 10 states that adjust the minimum wage based on inflation and the CPI. Others include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon and Vermont.
L&I enforces the state’s wage-and-hour laws. The agency investigates all the wage-payment complaints it receives, as required by state law. Workers can file a wage complaint online at www.lni.wa.gov/workplacerights/, or by calling 1-866-219-7321.
There’s more information on Washington’s minimum wage at Wages.lni.wa.gov. Employers and workers also may call 360-902-5316 or 1-866-219-7321.