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Washington State Minimum Wage 2024: Everything You Need to Know

Washington State Minimum Wage 2024: Everything You Need to Know

All workers in Washington State (WA) are entitled to receive an hourly Minimum Wage rate according to Washington Labor Laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This Minimum Wage requirement includes a special wage rate for minors. In addition, the cities of Seattle and SeaTac have their own minimum wage as well.

Employees must be compensated for all hours worked in Washington State, and such compensation must be compliant with Washington Minimum Wage Law.

Effective 01/01/2024:

In areas outside Seattle, SeaTac, and Tukwila, the Washington State Minimum Wage is $16.28 per hour, effective as of 01/01/2024.

Minimum wage is the cornerstone for all Washington Payroll Laws, and so it is crucial to keep your business up to date.

Effective 01/01/2023:

In areas outside Seattle and SeaTac, the Washington State Minimum Wage is $15.74 per hour, effective as of 01/01/2023.  

Washington State Minimum Wage in 2024

In addition to the state as a whole, both Seattle and SeaTac have also increased the local minimum wage rate for 2024 (see below sections).

Additionally, Tukwila has set its own minimum wage standard as of January 1st, 2024.

Washington State Minimum Wage Schedule

Every September, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries evaluates the cost-of-living and adjust the minimum wage accordingly. Each year, a minimum wage update will be announced on September 30th, and take effect on January 1st of the following year.

Important to note for Washington State Employers is that all tips and services charges must be paid to the employee, and they can not be counted toward an employee's hourly minimum wage.

Employers must also ensure they understand Federal Overtime-Exempt requirements as well as state overtime requirements, in order to fully manage compliance with wage and payroll requirements.

WA Minimum Wage Qualifications

Most agricultural and non-agricultural jobs qualify for the minimum wage. However, there are certain exemptions. 

Exemptions to WA Minimum Wage

Employers can apply for a sub-minimum wage certificate for the following types of workers:

  • Certificated on-the-job learners (no less than 85%)
  • Certificated student workers and student learners (no less than 75%)
  • Certificated workers with disabilities
  • Certain apprentices
  • Certain minors
  • Jobs exempt from the Minimum Wage Act

Special Wage Rate for Minors

In Washington State, employees who are between the ages of 14 and 15 may be compensated at a wage rate of no less than 85% of the minimum wage. 

Local Washington State Minimum Wage Rates

The cities of Seattle, SeaTac, and Tukwila currently have separate minimum wage rates.

Seattle Minimum Wage

The Seattle Minimum Wage is $19.97 per hour, effective as of 01/01/2024 for all businesses with 501 or more employees (large employers)

For Seattle businesses with 500 employees or less (small employers), employers may compensate employees at a wage rate of $17.25 per hour, if the employer pays $2.72 per hour toward medical benefits, or the employee earns at least that much per hour in tips.

SeaTac Minimum Wage

The SeaTac Minimum Wage is $19.71 per hour for Hospitality and Transportation Industry employers only, as of 01/01/2024.

Tukwila Minimum Wage

Tukwila Minimum Wage applies to employers who have 15 or more workers worldwide and earn more than $2 million in annual gross revenue in Tukwila.

The minimum wage differs depending on employer size. For employers with over 500 employees, the minimum wage is $20.29 per hour in Tukwila

For mid-sized employers, (employers covered under the law with 500 employees or fewer) the minimum wage is $18.29 per hour.

Note: As of July 1st, 2024, the minimum wage for Tukwila mid-sized employers will increase to $19.29 per hour.

Staying Prepared for Washington State Minimum Wage Updates

If the business you work in is located in Washington State, or even more importantly Seattle, SeaTac, or Tukwila, it is going to need to prepare for an increase in the minimum wage every year.

Companies with a plethora of workers who are compensated at the minimum wage will experience a rise in staffing costs, which can be disruptive to business operations if unprepared.

Here are some things the business should do to prepare for the future Washington State Minimum Wage Updates:

Businesses can also stay ahead of minimum wage updates by utilizing a labor law poster subscription service.

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Get Help with WA Minimum Wage Compliance

Managing compliance with minimum wage might seem straightforward initially, "pay employees at least this much", but in a state like Washington with varying rules depending on employee type and business location, things can get tricky. 

For instance, regardless of Washington State At-Will Employment, employers may not fire or otherwise retaliate against an employee who exercises a protected right, files or intends to file a complaint, or who has discussed potential violations of their rights under Washington State Minimum Wage.

Business that are struggling with minimum wage compliance may want to consider reaching out to a Washington Payroll company for assistance. 

To learn more about how PayNW is helping countless businesses in Washington with minimum wage compliance through modern payroll software, contact us today.

Watch our payroll demo video below, and learn more about how our payroll software can help ensure that you are meeting minimum wage requirements. 

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