Some businesses are already starting to plan for the first wage jump in January, which will lift the state minimum to $11 from the current $9.47.
With Tuesday’s passage of a ballot measure raising the state’s minimum wage, some businesses are already starting to plan for the first wage jump in January.
Initiative 1433 would raise the state minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020, with the first jump, to $11 from the current $9.47, taking place Jan. 1.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, the initiative had the approval of 59 percent of voters statewide, and 72 percent of King County’s.
In King County as a whole, only 7.8 percent of jobs pay below $13.50, according to county-by-county data from the state Employment Security Department. But in Yakima County, 30.5 percent of low-wage jobs will get a boost from the new increase.
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Glen Bachman, general manager of Everett Mall, who opposed the initiative, said his financial team is now working out how much the increase will impact its costs.
“If the percentage increase gets too high, we’ll have to cut back” on staff or contracted services, he said.
Such cutbacks are “absolutely the last thing on my list. But I have to work with the numbers,” he said.
Shahrokh Nikfar, who owns the Caffee Affogato coffee shop and Mediterrano restaurant in Spokane, supported the initiative.
Currently, about 10 of his 14 employees make less than $11. He figures the jump in January will raise his payroll costs by up to 8 percent.
“But it’s a short-term cost because long-term, I’m going to be able to benefit from this,” said Nikfar, who believes that higher wages will result in more money in the pockets of people who may spend it at his eateries.
Nikfar said he doesn’t plan to raise prices, expecting he can make up for the higher labor costs if customers spend more.
For now, he’s not planning to boost the wages of his higher-paid employees, since his businesses, open about a year and a half, are not yet profitable.