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September 30, 2008

Washington’s minimum wage to increase to $8.55 Jan. 1

TUMWATER – Washington’s minimum wage will increase 48 cents to $8.55 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2009, an increase required by a voter initiative that passed 10 years ago.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) recalculates the state’s minimum wage each year in September as required by Initiative 688, which was approved by Washington voters in 1998. The law requires that the state minimum wage be adjusted each year according to the change in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) during the 12 months ending each Aug. 31.

The CPI-W is a national index covering the cost of goods and services needed for day-to-day living. It increased 5.9 percent during the 12‑month period ending in August, compared to a 1.8 percent increase during the same period in 2007, which led to a 14-cents-an-hour increase in the 2008 minimum wage.

The 5.9 percent increase, applied to Washington’s current minimum wage of $8.07 an hour, generated a 48-cent increase in next year’s minimum wage. Washington’s minimum wage applies to workers in both agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, although 14‑ and 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.27.

More information on Washington’s minimum wage is available at Wages.Lni.wa.gov. Employers and workers also may call 360-902-5316 or 1-866-219-7321.

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For media information: Elaine Fischer, L&I, 360-902-5413

Radio broadcast version (:35)
The Department of Labor & Industries says the state’s minimum wage will increase by 48 cents to $8.55 an hour starting January 1st, 2009. The state recalculates the wage each September as required by an initiative passed by voters 10 years ago. The initiative requires the state to adjust the minimum wage based on the federal “CPI-W,” which is a national index covering the cost of goods and services needed for day-to-day living. That index rose five point nine percent (5.9%) during the 12 months ending August 31st. You can find more information at Wages dot Lni dot wa dot gov.

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