In September, four members of the King County Council proposed legislation to create a new minimum wage standard for unincorporated areas of the County.
The legislation would raise the minimum wage to $18.99 for employers with 500 or more employees. For businesses with 15 or fewer employees and less than $2 million in annual revenue, the minimum wage would start at $15.99. This gap would narrow by 50 cents a year until parity is achieved. For businesses with between 15 and 500 employees, the minimum wage would start at $16.99 and rise by $1 a year until it catches up to the big business minimum wage. The minimum wage would be indexed to inflation at all three wage levels.
The Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee held hearings on the legislation on October 17 and November 16, as did the full Council on November 28. The Council deferred further action on the legislation to 2024.
On January 1, 2024, the Seattle minimum wage for employers with 501 or more employees will rise to $19.97 per hour. The Washington State minimum wage will jump to $16.28 per hour—up from $15.74 in 2023. Seattle and Washington have the highest city and state minimum wage rates in the country.
WR will send a letter to the King County Council in January to express its opposition to creating a new minimum wage in unincorporated King County.