Minimum wage goes up to $7.16 on Jan.1

Washington’s minimum wage increases 15 cents to $7.16 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2004. The current minimum wage is $7.01.

The new wage applies to workers in both agricultural and nonagricultural jobs. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage.

The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) recalculates the wage each year in September as the result of an initiative approved by Washington voters in 1998. The measure requires an annual cost-of-living adjustment, based on changes in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

The federal Department of Labor minimum wage is $5.15 an hour. But in states that set rates different from federal law, the higher rate applies.