Washington’s minimum wage to rise to highest in nation

November 1, 2011

By Staff

Washington’s minimum wage is due to increase Jan. 1 to $9.04 per hour — the highest state minimum wage in the nation.

The state Department of Labor & Industries announced the 37-cent per hour increase Sept. 30. The agency calculates the state minimum wage each year.

The recalculation is required under Initiative 688, a measure passed by Washington voters 13 years ago.

The increase reflects a 4.258 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers since August 2010.

The calculation is a measure of the average change in prices over time of goods and services — such as food, clothing and fuel, and services, such as doctor visits — purchased by urban wage earners and clerical workers.

The minimum wage applies to workers in agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-old workers may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.68 per hour, starting next year.

Washington and nine other states adjust minimum wages based on inflation and the CPI. Washington has the highest minimum wage nationwide, followed by Oregon.

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