• Jacque Coe

Seattle Minimum Wage Increase Announced

Updated: Oct 7


The Seattle minimum wage will increase by $1.50 to $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2021 for businesses with 500 employees or less and who pay toward the employees’ medical benefits and/or allow employees to earn tips, according to the Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS). For businesses with 500 employees or less who do not pay medical benefits and/or allow employees to earn tips, the 2021 wage will increase to $16.69, up from $15.75 in 2020. A small employer may pay an employee a minimum of $15/hour so long as the employee makes at least $1.69/hour in tips or the employer makes $1.69/hour towards qualifying medical benefits plan (silver level equivalent or higher). For large employers of 501 employees and more, the minimum wage in 2021 will increase to $16.69 to reflect the rate of inflation.

Every year Seattle's minimum wage increases on January 1 with some categories increasing based on the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton Area Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). For small employers, the minimum wage increase follows a schedule established by the minimum wage ordinance, as outlined in the OLS multi-year chart. Since 2019, all large employers pay the same minimum wage regardless of payments toward an employee’s medical benefits. In 2025, small employers will pay the same minimum wage as large employers and will no longer be able to count employee tips and/or payments toward an employee’s medical benefit plan. The minimum wage ordinance applies to all overtime-eligible employees who work in Seattle.

If you need resources to plan for wage increases, please contact your Washington Hospitality Territory Managers Cathy Fox or Michele Schaub. To see the Washington Hospitality Association Members Hub Resources, click here.

Washington state’s minimum wage will increase from $13.50 to $13.69 an hour on Jan. 1, 2021. For more information on the state minimum wage increase, click here.

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