$15/hour Minimum Wage - Washington State Attorney General Issues Guideline for Surcharges
Posted Friday, July 10, 2015 by Christopher L. Thayer
Seattle and SeaTac have recently decided to increase their hourly minimum wage to $15.00/hour. As local businesses react to this change, some have considered adding a line item charge for their service to cover this increased labor cost. In particular, some large chain restaurants in Seattle have proposed to add a fee to their customer’s bill. The Washington State Attorney General issued guidelines for business who wish to add such charges. State law allows such charges, but only if:
• All surcharges must be conspicuously disclosed to consumers in advance. Businesses are advised to use a large and legible font and to prominently disply the notice at the point of purchase.
• For surcharges related to the food, beverage or entertainment industry, the charge must be disclosed in an itemized receipt and on any menus.
• The disclosure must be clear and unambiguous.
• The disclosure may not mischaracterize the surcharge as a “tax” or in any other way that implies it is a government fee.
• Any funds derived from the surcharge fee, must be used for the purpose indicated (i.e., funding employee wages)
• Surcharges are subject to B&) tax
For more information, see this link for the full guideline issues by the WA Attorney General: http://agportal-s3bucket.s3.amazonaws.com/uploadedfiles/Home/News/Press_Releases/2015/Wage%20surcharge%20guidance%20062415.pdf