King County Council Committee approves new minimum wage ordinance

Apr 18, 2024
Written by WR Communications

On April 16, the King County Council’s Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee approved a new minimum wage ordinance that would cover businesses in the unincorporated (i.e., areas governed by King County because they are not in cities) areas of the county. 

If approved by the full County Council, the ordinance would create a minimum wage of $20.29 effective January 1, 2025 for employers with 500 or more employees. For small employers (with 15 or fewer employees and less than $2 million revenue), the ordinance mandates a minimum hourly wage of $17.29. Medium-sized employers (with16-499 employees) would pay a minimum wage at $18.29/hour. All three wage levels would rise annually, tied to the Consumer Price Index. In addition, the lower minimum wage for medium and small employers is phased out over a few years, bringing them in line with the large-employer wage standard. 

John Engber, lobbyist for Washington Retail, gave public comment encouraging the Committee to include a credit for full compensation. Engber argued that employees would not benefit if the minimum wage law encourages employers to drop health insurance and other employee benefits because it’s much more expensive for those employees to buy their own insurance on the individual market. He also urged the Council to address the county’s housing shortage, which is the primary factor in making the region unaffordable for many low-wage workers. 

The Committee approved the minimum wage ordinance without adding a credit for full compensation. The full King County Council next meets on April 23. At this time, the minimum wage ordinance is not on the meeting agenda. 


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