King County officials propose $18.99 minimum wage
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.
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