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Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2024
20 Dollars an Hour    Print 

20 Dollars an Hour

Legislation to establish a $20.29/hour minimum wage across unincorporated King County has cleared a key committee. The proposal was passed by the King County Council’s Transportation, Economy, and Environment committee earlier today.

 

“Today’s committee vote to increase the minimum wage in unincorporated King County is a big step toward investing in the workers, families, and economy of every corner of our region. I’m proud and grateful of the work we’ve done in partnership with small businesses and labor partners in unincorporated King County to make sure that everyone can share in our county’s prosperity,” said King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, who first authored the legislation. “We are excited to see this legislation pass out of committee and make its way to full council for a final vote.”

 

Zahilay and council colleagues introduced the measure this past September alongside community and labor leaders. It is cosponsored by King County Councilmembers Rod Dembowski, Teresa Mosqueda, and Jorge L. Barón and the proposal was unveiled in Skyway, an unincorporated area of King County that has lagged in wages while surrounding cities have set their own higher minimums.

 

Urban unincorporated areas can often lag behind neighboring cities in economic measures, with wages being a major factor. Skyway, for instance, is currently held to the state minimum of $16.28 per hour but borders Tukwila, where the minimum wage is $20.29, and Seattle, where the minimum wage is $19.97. Nearby SeaTac has a minimum wage of $19.71 per hour for hospitality and transportation industry employers.

 

There are two key exceptions to this hourly minimum wage rate. Employers with 15 or fewer employees with an annual gross revenue of less than $2.0 million would have an hourly minimum wage rate of $3.00 less ($17.29). The reduction would decrease annually by $0.50 until no reduction is remaining in 2030. Meanwhile, employers with 15 or fewer employees with an annual gross revenue of $2.0 million or greater and employers with more than 15 employees but fewer than 500 employees would have an hourly minimum wage rate of $2.00 less ($18.29). The reduction would decrease annually by $1.00 until no reduction is remaining in 2026.

 

The full King County Council is expected to take a final vote on the measure in the coming weeks. While immediate passage would increase the minimum wage to $20.29/hour, the ordinance would not go into effect until January 1, 2025, making the new wage also subject to an increase based on inflation. Inflation rates will not be calculated or known until this coming fall.


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