The minimum wage in Washington state is set to rise by 15 cents to $9.47 an hour on Jan. 1, making it the highest in the United States, media reports said. Neighboring Oregon, where the minimum wage will rise to $9.25 an hour, will take the second spot, according to The Associated Press, citing local reports.
The pay hike, which will affect over 67,000 employees in the state, would mean that full-time workers will be able to earn $312 more a year, The Seattle Times reported, citing the state’s Department of Labor and Industries. The minimum wage applies to workers across industries, while workers between the ages of 14 to 15 can be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $8.05 an hour, The Seattle Times reported.
Meanwhile, Seattle is working on legislation that would allow it to increase the minimum wage of those working in the city to $15 an hour in the next two years to six years, the report added.
The law, which takes effect on April 1, will affect companies with over 500 employees in the U.S. by requiring them to pay $11 an hour by April 1, and scale that up to a minimum wage of $15 by 2017. Bigger companies that provide health care benefits would get one more year to reach the minimum wage of $15. Businesses that employ fewer than 500 workers in the country will have to pay $10 by April 1, and reach the $15 minimum-wage mark by 2021, according to the report.
Eighteen other states are also preparing to increase their minimum wage on Jan. 1, while New York will do so a day before.