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Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, the state’s minimum wage will rise nearly 6 percent to $14.49 per hour, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) recently announced.

State law mandates L&I calculate the minimum wage for the coming year based on the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). L&I compares the CPI-W from August of the previous year to the index for August of the current year to make the calculation.

The result: the state’s current minimum wage of $13.69 will go up 5.83 percent next year. BLS attributed the increase in the price index to more expensive gas, housing, household furnishings, and food. The state minimum wage applies to workers age 16 and older. 

Under state law, employers can pay 85 percent of the minimum wage to workers ages 14 to 15 years old. For 2022, the wage for that younger group will be $12.32 per hour.

Cities are able to set minimum wages higher than the state’s, and both Seattle and Sea Tac have higher wages.

More information about the minimum wage is available on L&I's website, as are details about overtime, rest breaks, meal periods, and information on how to file a complaint. Employers and workers can also call (360) 902-5316 or 1 (866) 219-7321.

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