Inflationary adjustment will keep its value from eroding, as voters intended
TUMWATER, Wash. (Oct. 2, 2023) — The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) announced Friday that the state’s minimum wage will be increase 3.4 percent to $16.28 an hour in 2024. This inflationary adjustment will help Washington’s working families earning the state’s lowest legal wage to keep up with rising costs.
Voters overwhelmingly approved labor-backed ballot initiatives in 1998 and again in 2016 that required annual adjustments in the state minimum wage based on rising consumer prices. Washington was the first state to index its minimum wage for inflation. Now there are 16 states with indexed minimum wages.
“Washington’s union movement was proud to sponsor the minimum wage initiatives,” said April Sims, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Voters clearly agreed that our state should take the politics out of the minimum wage and adjust it every year so its value isn’t eroded by inflation. With the price of food, housing, transportation and other basic necessities on the rise, the state’s minimum wage must also rise.”
Under state law, L&I calculates the minimum wage for the coming year based on the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). In making the calculation, L&I compares the CPI-W index from August of the previous year to August of the current year.
In 2023, Washington has the highest state-level minimum wage in the nation at $15.74 an hour. Cities can set higher minimum wages. Seattle (currently $18.69 an hour for most workers), SeaTac ($19.06), and Tukwila ($18.99) have yet to announce their adjustments for 2024.
More information about the minimum wage is available on L&I’s website, along with details about overtime, rest breaks, meal periods, and how to file a wage complaint. A poster with information about the 2024 minimum wage is also available in 15 different languages.
More workers will also get overtime pay in 2024
Also in 2024, thousands more workers in Washington will gain more time to spend with their family and friends, more overtime pay, or a little of both.
Washington’s overtime pay standard continues to phase in increases in the salary threshold below which all workers must be paid time-and-a-half for overtime hours worked beyond 40 per week. The minimum salary an employee must earn to be considered overtime-exempt will rise in 2024 to two times the state minimum wage, or $1,302.40 per week ($67,725 per year). Any salaried worker earning less than that will have the right to receive overtime pay.
L&I updated the rules for exempt workers in 2020, creating an eight-year implementation schedule that incrementally raises the multiplier until it reaches 2.5 times in 2028. The pace of the increase is based on the size of the employer. Learn more at L&I’s overtime web page.
Minimum pay for rideshare drivers also increases
Minimum pay drivers for transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber will earn beginning Jan. 1, 2024 is also going up. The minimum pay is one of the new rights and protections granted to TNC drivers by legislation passed in 2022.
- For trips within Seattle in 2024, drivers will earn 66 cents per passenger platform minute and $1.55 per passenger platform mile, or $5.81, whichever is greater.
- For trips outside of Seattle in 2024, drivers will earn 38 cents per passenger platform minute and $1.31 per passenger platform mile, or $3.37, whichever is greater.
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