effective JANUARY 1, 2019

Effective January 1, 2019, Seattle's minimum wage rises to $16.00, $15.00, and/or $12.00 an hour, depending:

  • $16.00 an hour if you work at McDonald's, Target, Starbucks, Tom Douglas Restaurants or another large company or chain with more than 500 employees globally.

  • $15.00 an hour if you work at a smaller company or chain with 500 or fewer employees globally and do not receive tips or healthcare benefits from your employer.

  • $12.00 an hour in wages and at least $15.00 an hour in minimum compensation if you work at a smaller company or chain with 500 or fewer employees globally. Your minimum compensation is the sum of your wage, your tips, and the cost to your employer of providing healthcare benefits. You can't be paid less than $12.00 in wages, regardless of the amount of your tips or benefits.

What about $15?

Workers get to $15/hour on different timelines, so that smaller companies & chains have more time to see the benefits of increased consumer demand.

The third group of workers gets to $15/hour this year, with increases for inflation every year after that. Every worker gets to $15/hour in the next few years, and at the end of the phase-in, every worker gets to the same citywide inflation-adjusted minimum wage,

What about tips or service charges?

Tips have to go to employees who provided the service. Employers or managers cannot take tips. Tips need to be listed on your paystub to count towards minimum compensation.

A service charge may sound like a tip, but they have different rules. Service charges have to say what percentage goes to workers, and service charges can't be used to cover the state minimum wage.

what should i see on my paystub?

Your paystub has to show: rate of pay, any tips you received, gross wages, sick time accrual, and any deductions from your paycheck. For an employer to be able to count things towards minimum compensation you have to see it on your paystub. Tips or employer provided healthcare have to be stated on the paystub. If it is not on the paystub, it can't be counted towards minimum compensation.

i only have three co-workers at my subway. the owner has three stores in the city. what category does that fall under?

Franchises are treated just like any other business with the number of franchise employees nationally determining the minimum wage they have to pay. Subway franchises have more than 500 employees nationally, so the workers would be paid following that schedule.

how about if i'm not a citizen or i don't have a green card?

All employees who work in Seattle are covered by this law, regardless of your documentation status. In fact, the City of Seattle has a policy of not asking about immigration status and not sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).