The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) announced on Sept. 30 that the state-wide minimum wage will increase in January 2023 to $15.74 an hour for employees 16 years old and older. This is an 8.66 percent, or $1.25, increase from the previous Washington minimum wage of $14.49 per hour. Employees 14 to 15 years old must be paid a minimum of 85% of the minimum wage, which comes out to $13.38 an hour.
L&I says that this increase is “directly linked to the cost of common goods such as housing, food and medical care as reflected in the Consumer Price Index.”
The salary requirements are also rising for small employers with less than 50 employees. Their employees must now be paid a minimum of 1.75 times the minimum wage.
These increases mean that Washington will have the highest state minimum wage in the United States in 2023. Interestingly enough, Washington is also one of the only states where employers are required to pay employees minimum wage despite how much they might make in tips. Cities, however, are able to set their own minimum wages, as long as they’re higher than the state’s. Seattle, for example, will be raising their minimum wage for large employers in 2023 to $18.69 an hour from $17.27. The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25.