Occupational Health & Safety

Ten States' Minimum Wages Rising Today

The new $9.19 per hour minimum in Washington state applies to workers in all industries, but 14- and 15-year-olds legally may be paid just 85 percent of it.

Washington state's minimum wage increases 15 cents to $9.19 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2013. This rate applies to workers in all industries, including agriculture, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.81 an hour.

Washington's increase ties for the highest amount among the 10 states raising their minimum wages on Jan. 1; the 10 include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, all of which automatically index theirs to inflation. The tenth state is Rhode Island, where the legislature enacted a one-time boost of 35 cents per hour this year for low-wage workers, the Economic Policy Institute's David Cooper reported in a Dec. 26 blog post. (http://www.epi.org/blog/minimum-wage-indexing-protects-low-wage-workers/) He said about 855,000 workers will be affected by the increases, and an additional 140,000 workers with wages just above the new minimums probably will receive small raises because of the higher wage floor where they work.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries also reminded employers they are still required to post the "Your Rights as a Worker" poster, which provides general information about the minimum wage and other topics. Free workplace posters are available from any L&I office or by calling 866-219-7321 or downloading from www.posters.Lni.wa.gov.

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