Washington state has the highest minimum wage in the nation, and starting next year, minimum-wage workers will see a new increase in their salaries.
The state Department of Labor and Industries announced a wage increase to $9.19 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2013. It will be a 15-cent per hour raise from the current minimum wage of $9.04.
State officials said the increase reflects a 1.67 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index, released earlier in September by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The index takes stock of the average price changes of goods and services (including food, clothing, shelter, fuels and health care) purchased by urban wage earners and clerical workers. About four-fifths of the increase was due to rising gasoline prices, federal officials said, which rose an average of nine percent over the past year.
L&I calculates the state’s minimum wage each year based on inflation and the price index. It was one of 10 states nationwide that do so—the others: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, and Vermont.
Washington’s minimum wage applies to workers in both agricultural and non-agricultural jobs. But workers who are either 14 or 15 years old may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage ($7.68 in 2012).
For more information, employers and workers can visit www.wages.lni.wa.gov, or call 360-902-5316 or 1-866-219-7321.