On June 3, 2014, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed an ordinance raising the city’s minimum wage to fifteen dollars per hour. This proposal was unanimously adopted by the Seattle City Council. Following implementation, Seattle will have the highest minimum wage in the country.
The increase will occur over several years. Beginning on April 1, 2015, employers who employ over 500 employees in the United States will need to pay a minimum wage of eleven dollars per hour to those employees working in Seattle. The same large employers will face a fifteen dollar minimum wage for Seattle employees effective January 1, 2017. The law provides certain credits for employee commissions and bonuses. Large employers who pay a portion of employee health care benefits also will receive a credit reducing the minimum wage, but only until 2018. The law provides a longer, gradual phase-in schedule for the increased minimum wage for employers who employ 500 or fewer employees.
Although Seattle currently has the highest minimum wage of any United States city, it is not the only one to consider a fifteen dollar minimum wage. As we previously posted here, legislators in New York City have also proposed a fifteen dollar minimum wage.