Wage & Hour
Minimum Wage The 2017 Washington Minimum Wage Is $11 Washington's minimum wage applies to workers in both agriculture and non-agricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85% of the minimum wage ($9.35). Initiative 1433 changes the state minimum wage and will require employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. Read more information regarding Initiative I-1433 passed by Washington voters in 2016. Washington's 2018 minimum wage will be $11.50 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2018. Workers who are 14 or 15 years old may be paid 85% of the adult minimum wage, or $9.78 per hour. Print an announcement of the 2018 minimum wage (40 KB PDF). See a history of Washington State's minimum wage by year. More about Washington's minimum wage
Employers with workers who work in certain local jurisdictions may be subject to a higher minimum wage than the state rate. See information on local minimum wage rates at the links below. Sea-Tac Minimum Wage (www.ci.seatac.wa.us). Seattle Minimum Wage (www.seattle.gov). Tacoma Minimum Wage (www.cityoftacoma.org). Federal Minimum Wage (www.dol.gov). Paying certain workers less than minimum wage.
Required poster Employers are required to post the Your Rights as a Worker (F700-074-909) poster, which provides information about the minimum wage and other topics. This poster is available at no cost from L&I. (A separate minimum wage poster is no longer required.) Coming soon! A revised Your Rights as a Worker poster will be mailed to all Washington State employers in November 2017. The updated poster will include information about the new paid sick leave requirements, approved by Washington voters in November 2016 through Initiative 1433. More information regarding Washington's wage and hour laws is available at Lni.wa.gov/Wages. Employers and workers also may call 360-902-5316 or 1-866-219-7321.
Common questions about minimum wage
Who must be paid minimum wage? The wage applies to workers in both agricultural and non-agricultural jobs. Although there are some exemptions, most workers must be paid the minimum wage for all "hours worked" as required by state law. "Hours worked" includes opening and closing the business, and required meetings and training. Any time spent by an employee in the performance of these duties must be recorded and paid. Can a business count workers' tips when making sure they get at least minimum wage? No. Businesses may not use tips as credit toward minimum wages owed to a worker. How can an employer get L&I's required workers' rights poster in order to post it? You can order free, full-sized, color versions of L&I's required workers' rights posters from your local L&I office. You may also want to get this list of workplace posters required and recommended by L&I and other Washington State and federal agencies (F101-054-000). All posters listed are available in both English and Spanish. Why and when does the minimum wage change and how is it calculated? Initiative 1433 (I-1433), which voters approved in 2016, sets the minimum wage. I-1433 sets the minimum wage at $11.00 in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12.00 in 2019, and $13.50 in 2020. For 2021 and beyond, L&I will return to using the federal Consumer Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) (data.bls.gov) to set the minimum wage. The CPI-W represents the average change in price on a fixed group of goods and services, such as food, shelter, medical care and other goods. What is Washington's minimum wage compared to other states? View minimum wages for other states (www.dol.gov). What is the difference between the state and federal minimum wage?
The federal Department of Labor minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. In states that set rates that differ from federal law, the higher rate applies. Most Washington employers are subject to both federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws. The effect of this dual coverage is that the employer must follow the higher standard, meaning the one most beneficial to the employee, when there are differing requirements in the laws. More about Washington's minimum wage
Paying certain workers less than minimum wage. Minimum wage laws and rules
RCW 49.46.020 (app.leg.wa.gov). WAC 296-128 (app.leg.wa.gov). L&I administrative policies
More Favorable Laws (ES.A.7) (10 KB PDF). Minimum Wage Act Applicability (ES.A.1) (150 KB PDF). Minimum Hourly Wage (ES.A.3) (18 KB PDF). Definition of Wage (ES.A.2) (11 KB PDF). Hours Worked (ES.C.2) (28 KB PDF).
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