TUMWATER, Wash. - Washington state’s minimum wage is increasing 19 cents to $13.69 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2021, the first increase determined by inflation instead of a voter-approved ballot measure that determined increases over the past four years.
The increase, announced Wednesday by the state Department of Labor and Industries, also is the first to affect wages paid to some salaried employees exempt from overtime.
Salaried executive, administrative and professional workers, and computer professionals must earn a salary above a minimum specified amount to remain overtime exempt. Starting in 2021, that amount will increase based on the number of employees at a business.
Exempt employees at businesses with up to 50 employees must earn a salary of at least 1.5 times the minimum $42,712.80 a year. At businesses with more than 51 employees, exempt employee must earn a salary of at least 1.75 times the minimum wage, or $49,831.60 a year.
The 2021 minimum wage is based on a 1.39 percent increase over the last 12 months in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.
The state’s minimum wage applies to workers in both agriculture and non-agricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85% of the minimum wage under the law.
For employers in Seattle and SeaTac, which already have higher minimum wages, the local minimum wage rate will apply as long as it is higher than the state minimum. SeaTac’s is $16.34 for hospitality and transportation employees and Seattle’s varies on the size of the company, but is as high as $16.39.