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Sept. 29, 2009

No increase to Washington’s minimum wage in 2010

Audio available

TUMWATER – Washington’s minimum wage will not increase in 2010 but will remain the same at $8.55 an hour because the Consumer Price Index for the past 12 months did not increase. 

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 increased for inflation 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 decreased 1.9 percent during the 12‑month period ending in August, compared to a 5.9 percent increase during the same period in 2008, which led to a 48-cents-an-hour increase in the 2009 minimum wage.

This is the first time since the initiative passed that there is no increase in the state’s minimum wage.

Employers may continue using the current minimum wage poster for another year.

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.

Washington is one of ten states, with Oregon, Vermont, Ohio, Nevada, Montana, Missouri, Florida, Colorado, and Arizona, that adjusts the minimum wage based on inflation.

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 (:45)

The Department of Labor and Industries says the state’s minimum wage will remain at $8.55 for another year because there was no increase in the Consumer Price Index. The state recalculates the wage each September as required by an initiative passed by voters 11 years ago. It requires the state to increase 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. The CPI-W decreased 1.9 % over the past 12 months. You can find more information at Wages dot Lni dot wa dot gov.

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Voice of Elaine Fischer, L&I communications manager: "A voter initiative in 1998 requires that the minimum wage be increased for inflation each year based on the consumer price index for the past 12 months. This year, however, the consumer price index did not increase — it actually decreased by 1.9 percent. As a result, the minimum wage will stay the same for another year. This is the first time since the initiative passed that there has been no increase in the state’s minimum wage."

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