Minimum wage will increase Jan. 1

Washington’s minimum wage will increase 14 cents to $8.07 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2008.

The Department of Labor and 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 adjusted 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 increased 1.8 percent during the 12 month period ending in August, compared to a 3.9 percent increase during the same period in 2006, which led to a 30 cents-an-hour increase in the 2007 minimum wage.

The 1.8 percent increase, applied to Washington’s current minimum wage of $7.93 an hour, generated a 14-cent increase in next year’s minimum wage. 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.