effective JANUARY 2016

Effective January 1, 2016, Seattle's minimum wage rises to $13, $12.50, $12, and/or $10.50 an hour, depending:

  • $13 an hour if you work at McDonald's, Target or another large company or chain with more than 500 employees nationally, and you do not receive healthcare benefits from your employer. 
  • $12.50 an hour if you work at Starbucks, Tom Douglas Restaurants or another large company or chain with more than 500 employees nationally, and do receive healthcare benefits from your employer.
  • $12.00 an hour if you work at a smaller company or chain with less than 500 employees nationally and do not receive tips or healthcare benefits from your employer.
  • $10.50 an hour in wages and at least $12.00 an hour in minimum compensation if you work at a smaller company or chain with less than 500 employees nationally. 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 $10.50 in wages, regardless of the amount of your tips or benefits.

Our Whats My Wage tool — developed with Code for Seattle volunteers — can help workers navigate the law and report violations. Visit whatsmywage.org for more information.

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 first workers get to $15/hour in 2017, with increases for inflation every year after that. Every worker gets to $15/hour by 2021, 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. The service charge and the percentage that goes to workers, has to be shown on receipts and on the menu.

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 including people who are undocumented. In fact, the City of Seattle has a policy of not asking about immigration status regarding labor rights. There are also protections against retaliation and non disclosure from us or the city to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

what if i'm not getting paid what i'm owed?

Email us at info@workingwa.org, call us at 866-385-9509 or fill out the chat.