Seattle's 61% Minimum Wage - Now What?

On June 2, 2014, after great debate and protracted negotiations among various business and labor representatives throughout the City, the Seattle City Council made history by voting unanimously to pass Mayor Ed Murray’s $15 per hour minimum wage plan. The goal of the plan, according to the Mayor, is to “grow the middle class.”  This new minimum wage will eventually be a sixty one percent (61%) increase over the current state minimum wage of $9.32 per hour (already the highest state minimum wage in the United States), and is a dramatic wage escalation for those affected businesses.

So, what now? If you conduct or own a business in the City of Seattle, you need to know how and when your business will be impacted by this ordinance. The plan is complicated and will be implemented in series of phases over a period of three to seven years, with the first phase starting on April 1, 2015. The implementation of the different phases depends on two factors: the size of your workforce and whether or not you offer benefits. The chart below attempts to illustrate the timeline for the different phases and is included for your reference. Unfortunately, how your business will be impacted cannot be neatly illustrated in a graph, so if you would like to discuss and plan a strategy to minimize the impact this plan may have on your business from a legal perspective, please contact us at 206-438-9083 to set up a consultation.