State minimum wage to increase to highest in nation

October 23, 2012

Washington’s minimum wage is due to increase Jan. 1 to $9.19 per hour.

The state Department of Labor & Industries announced the 15-cent per hour increase Sept. 28.

The existing state minimum wage, $9.04 per hour, is the highest in the nation, and Washington is poised to retain the No. 1 spot next year.

The annual recalculation is required under Initiative 688, a measure passed by Washington voters 14 years ago.

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Washington minimum wage rises to $9.19 next year

September 28, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 28, 2012

Washington’s minimum wage is due to increase Jan. 1 to $9.19 from $9.04 per hour.

The state Department of Labor & Industries announced the 15-cent per hour increase Friday. The agency calculates the state minimum wage each year.

The existing state minimum wage, $9.04 per hour, is the highest in the nation, and Washington is poised to retain the No. 1 spot next year.

The annual recalculation is required under Initiative 688, a measure passed by Washington voters 14 years ago.

The increase reflects a 1.67 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

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Wall collapse injures Issaquah Highlands construction crew

August 28, 2012

Medics transported four construction workers to area hospitals the early afternoon of Aug. 24 after a wall at a residential construction site in the Issaquah Highlands fell and injured the men.

Eastside Fire & Rescue and Bellevue Fire Department crews responded to the 900 block of Third Court Northeast, a highlands neighborhood west of Highlands Drive Northeast, at about 1:15 p.m., after a wooden wall measuring about 16 feet by 20 feet collapsed onto the construction workers. The workers were attempting to lift the prefabricated wall into place.

EFR Battalion Chief Glenn Huffman said one man sustained “significant injuries” and had to be transported to Harborview Medical Center.

Medics transported the other men to nearby Swedish/Issaquah and Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue for treatment of less-serious injuries.

Huffman did not have additional information about the workers’ conditions Aug. 24.

EFR sent aid cars and a fire truck to the scene, and the Bellevue Fire Department dispatched a medic unit.

The state Department of Labor & Industries is investigating the accident, per standard procedure.

Wall falls on workers at Issaquah Highlands construction site

August 24, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Aug. 24, 2012

Medics transported four construction workers to area hospitals early Friday afternoon after a wall at a residential construction site in the Issaquah Highlands fell and injured the men.

Eastside Fire & Rescue and Bellevue Fire Department crews responded to the 900 block of Third Court Northeast, a highlands neighborhood west of Highlands Drive Northeast at about 1:15 p.m., after a wooden wall measuring about 16 feet by 20 feet collapsed onto the construction workers.

EFR Battalion Chief Glenn Huffman said one man sustained “significant injuries” and had to be transported to Harborview Medical Center. Medics transported the other men to nearby Swedish/Issaquah and Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue.

Huffman did not have additional information about the workers’ conditions.

The state Department of Labor & Industries intends to investigate the accident, per standard procedure.

Use caution if working outdoors in hot conditions

August 18, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 18, 2012

The state Department of Labor & Industries reminded people working outdoors to take steps to prevent heat-related illness amid near-record temperatures.

In Washington, workers in the roofing, highway construction and agricultural fields can be particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses in warm weather.

Since 2008, Washington has had a workplace-safety rule on outdoor heat exposure to protect workers from heat-related illness.

The rule requires employers with employees working outdoors to train workers and supervisors on the symptoms of heat-related illness and what to do if someone develops a heat-related illness.

Employers also must provide plenty of water for workers, be able to respond appropriately to any employee with symptoms of illness and include heat-related-illness hazards in the company’s accident prevention program.

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Report: Washington employees’ wages rose in 2011

July 24, 2012

Washington employees earned a little more last year.

Statewide, the average annual wage grew by 3.6 percent in 2011, outpacing Seattle-area inflation by 0.9 percentage points, state Employment Security Department officials reported June 19.

The annual average rose from $48,162 in 2010 to $49,894 in 2011. The average weekly wage rose from $926 to $959.

The figures include only wages covered by unemployment insurance.

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Washington’s average annual wage climbed 3.6 percent in 2011

June 22, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. June 22, 2012

Washington’s average annual wage grew by 3.6 percent in 2011, outpacing Seattle-area inflation by 0.9 percentage points, state Employment Security Department officials reported June 19.

The annual average rose from $48,162 in 2010 to $49,894 in 2011. The average weekly wage rose from $926 to $959.

The figures include only wages covered by unemployment insurance.

Officials attributed the increase in large part to a 7.5 percent increase in the number of insured workers earning more than $75,000. Overall, the number of workers in Washington covered by unemployment insurance increased by 37,764 last year, and earnings grew by $6.6 billion.

“Month to month, we’ve been seeing strong growth in industries that tend to offer above-average pay, and that seems to be reflected in last year’s earnings,” Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause said in statement.

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Agencies’ website is meant to crack down on fraud

May 15, 2012

Several state agencies have rolled out a tool to help protect consumers from fraud.

The agency encourages consumers to go to www.suspectfraud.com to see if a business is registered and in good standing. In addition, links on suspectfraud.com allow consumers to check to see if a registered business is properly licensed, owes the state taxes, has had complaints filed against it or is the subject of state enforcement actions.

The site is a collaboration among the state departments of Revenue, Labor & Industries, and Employment Security to cut down on businesses operating beyond regulators’ reach and to pursue tax evaders.

Concerned citizens also can use the site to notify the agencies about possible tax evasion or other types of fraud, such as illegally claiming unemployment benefits, billing the state for unnecessary medical services, or evading state taxes on boats, planes and vehicles.

Homeowners should check contractors before hiring for storm cleanup

January 31, 2012

The state Department of Labor & Industries reminded residents to check contractors’ credentials, as residents seek help to clean up from recent winter weather.

Whether the job requires residents to hire a tree-removal service to clean up a downed tree or a general contractor to repair damage to a roof and gutter, the agency said a little homework upfront can protect consumers against fraud, shoddy work or, simply, bad contractors.

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State reminds homeowners to check contractors’ credentials in storms’ aftermath

January 29, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 29, 2012

The state Department of Labor & Industries reminded residents to check contractors’ credentials, as residents seek help to clean up from recent winter weather.

Whether the job requires residents to hire a tree-removal service to clean up a downed tree or a general contractor to repair damage to a roof and gutter, the agency said a little homework upfront can protect consumers against fraud, shoddy work or, simply, bad contractors.

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