Jordan Ramis pc. Attorneys at law
Washington, You’re Number ONE!
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This article is intended to inform the reader of general legal principles applicable to the subject area. It is not intended to provide legal advice regarding specific problems or circumstances. Readers should consult with competent counsel with regard to specific situations.

By Amy Robinson
Fall 2012

No, that's not the premature cry of an overzealous Husky football fan readying for next year's "Border War" game against the Ducks. It's Washington State's rank on the national minimum wage rate list. And, like it or not, Washington isn't planning to relinquish that title any time soon. Effective January 1, 2013, Washington's minimum wage will increase to $9.19. Oregon will, again, follow closely behind at $8.95 after it too increases at the start of 2013.

If this feels like "déjà vu all over again" like Yogi Berra once said, that's because it is. Since a voter initiative passed in 1998 mandating annual review and adjustment to the state's minimum wage rate to reflect inflation as reflected by the national Consumer Price Index ("CPI"), Washington's minimum wage has increased every year except for 2010. This year's boost reflects a 1.67 percent increase in the cost of consumer goods over the past year, according to the CPI (For Wage Earners and Clerical Workers CPI-W). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ("BLS"), the agency responsible for maintaining the CPI, most of the increase was due to the 9 percent spike in average national gasoline prices in 2012.

Washington employers and those of you located elsewhere but who have Washington-based employees will want to keep this increase in mind as you work on budgeting and forecasting for 2013. Be sure also to update the mandated minimum wage poster in your Washington workplace before you start the new year. You can also find a complete list of Washington‘s required postings, as well as links to print the posters yourself and/or order them online here: http://www.lni.wa.gov/IPUB/101-054-000.asp.

As always don't hesitate to call our employment team if you have any questions about wage and hour compliance. You may also find helpful technical guidance published by Washington's Department of Labor and Industries ("L&I") online here: http://www.lni.wa.gov/WorkplaceRights/Wages/