Sep 8, 2023 - Politics

King County officials propose $18.99 minimum wage

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

King County officials are proposing a new minimum wage of $18.99 per hour in certain parts of the county, which supporters say will better match the existing minimum wages in local cities such as Seattle and SeaTac.

  • While only the largest employers would have to pay that hourly wage to start, the proposal would require smaller companies to follow suit within a few years.

Driving the news: King County Councilmembers Girmay Zahilay, Rod Dembowski, Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Joe McDermott held a press conference Thursday announcing the minimum wage proposal.

  • If approved, the wage changes would apply to employers in unincorporated areas of King County starting in January.

Details: At first, the $18.99 hourly minimum wage would apply only to businesses with at least 500 employees.

  • Businesses with 16 to 499 employees could initially pay a minimum wage of $16.99 per hour, phasing in the higher minimum wage over two years.
  • Businesses with 15 or fewer workers and gross annual revenue of less than $2 million would be able to pay $15.99 per hour to start, raising their wages gradually over roughly six years to match what the larger companies must pay.

State of play: Seattle already has a minimum wage of $18.69 per hour for large employers.

  • SeaTac, meanwhile, requires hospitality and transportation workers to be paid at least $19.06 per hour.

Meanwhile, Washington's minimum wage this year is $15.74, which is the highest state minimum wage in the nation.

  • Of note: Washington, D.C. has a higher minimum wage of $17 per hour.

What's next: The minimum wage measure is expected to come before the King County Council within the next couple of months.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Seattle.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Seattle stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Seattle.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more