Supporters filed a ballot measure Monday that seeks to incrementally raise Washington state’s minimum wage over four years and require paid sick leave for all workers.
OLYMPIA — Supporters of raising Washington state’s minimum wage filed a ballot measure Monday that seeks to incrementally raise Washington’s minimum wage to $13.50 an hour over four years starting in 2017, as well as provide paid sick leave to employees without it.
The initiative was announced at a news conference by a coalition of workers and union members. Washington’s current minimum wage is $9.47 an hour, but the rate is adjusted each year for inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for the previous 12 months. The yearly recalculation is required by Initiative 688, which was approved by Washington voters in 1998.
For several years, Washington state had the highest statewide minimum wage in the nation, but five states have higher rates starting this year: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Some cities in Washington state already exceed the statewide minimum wage. A draft of the ballot measure says the minimum wage would resume being adjusted for inflation beginning in 2020.
Seattle’s minimum wage is set to incrementally rise to $15 an hour, and Tacoma voters recently approved raising that city’s minimum wage to $12 an hour over two years starting this year. The minimum wage for transportation and hospitality industry workers in SeaTac is currently $15.24 an hour.
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Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, said the initiative would encourage businesses like movie theaters and fast-food restaurants to rely more on technology and less on paid labor.