State's minimum wage to increase to $7.16 per hour

Washington’s minimum wage will increase 15 cents to $7.16 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2004.

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

At this point, Washington will have the highest minimum wage in the country next year. For comparison, Alaska’s minimum wage will reportedly remain at $7.15 an hour, and Connecticut is expected to raise its wage from $6.90 an hour to $7.10 an hour. Oregon recently announced that its minimum wage would increase in January from $6.90 to $7.05 an hour.