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Seattle’s New Minimum Wage Ordinance

Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by Michael J. Warren

alt textOn June 2, 2014, the Seattle City Council adopted a minimum wage ordinance that applies to all employees within the City of Seattle. In short, beginning April 1, 2015, the Ordinance requires all Seattle employers to raise the minimum they pay to their employees, such that after several years, Seattle employees will be paid a minimum wage of $15/hour. The ordinance applies to all hours worked by every employee within the Seattle city limits, subject only to a de minimus exemption noted below. The phase in period varies depending upon the size of the employer.

Employers with more than 500 company-wide employees must pay a minimum wage of $11/hour starting April 1, 2015, $13/hour starting January 1, 2016 and $15/hour starting January 1, 2017. This phase in period is extended to 2018 if the employer offers a qualifying medical benefits plan to its employees. For smaller employers (under 500 company-wide employees), the minimum wage is still $11/hour starting April 1, 2015, and does not phase in to $15/hour until January 1, 2019. Smaller employers may also receive a credit for qualifying medical benefits plan, as well as for verifiable tips, starting with the April 1, 2015 commencement date. Employees who work less than 2 hours within the Seattle city limits during any 2 week period are not subject to the ordinance. Civil penalties can be assessed by the City against employers who fail to comply with the ordinance.

If you have Seattle based employees earning less than $15/hour, you may be best served by contacting an attorney at Pivotal Law Group at (206) 340-2008 to discuss the applicability of the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance to your business.

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