OLYMPIA, Wash. - New laws go into effect Jan. 1, 2023 in Washington state with significant changes including a minimum wage increase, rideshare worker protections and wage transparency on job postings.
Washington's Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) detailed some of the changes to ensure that the public is aware.
Minimum wage increase
The state's 2022 minimum wage was $14.49 an hour - that's an increase of $1.25.
According to L&I, the increase is "directly linked to the cost of common goods such as housing, food, and medical care as reflected in the Consumer Price Index."
State Law passed by voters in 2016 directs L&I to calculate the minimum wage for the coming year based on "the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers."
The minimum wage applies to workers age 16 and older. Under state law, 14 and 15-year-olds can be paid 85% which will be $13.38 in 2023.
Cities are allowed to set higher minimum wages. Seattle's minimum wage for large employers will increase from $17.27 to $18.69 an hour in 2023.
Washington's wage will be even higher than California's which is increasing to $15.50 on Jan. 1, 2023.
Rideshare driver rights
Rideshare drivers will get new rights and protections as well after legislation that was passed in 2022.
Drivers for services like Uber and Lyft will have the right to minimum trip pay, paid sick time, workers’ compensation coverage, and protection from retaliation for exercising these rights.
Job posting transparency
Businesses with at least 15 employees will need to include the following on each job posting or advertisement:
- Salary range or pay scale
- General description of all benefits offered
- Identify any other compensation
Overtime exempt salary threshold
L&I explains "To be exempt from the state Minimum Wage Act, executive, administrative, professional or computer professional, and outside salespeople must earn at least the minimum salary."
"For employers with 50 or fewer employees, the 2023 salary threshold is 1.75 times the minimum wage: $1,101.80/week ($57,293.60/year). For employers with 51 or more employees, the threshold is double the minimum wage, $1,259.20/week ($65,478.40/year)."
Agricultural workers will need to work fewer hours to be eligible for overtime pay.
In 2023, ag workers will need to work 48 hours before they start earning overtime. In 2024, overtime eligibility begins when a worker reaches 40 hours in a week.