New minimum wage takes effect Jan. 1

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TUMWATER — Washington's minimum wage increases 37 cents to $9.04 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2012.

Washington's minimum wage applies to workers in all industries, including agriculture, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.68 an hour.

The Department of Labor & Industries adjusts the state's minimum wage each year in September as required by Initiative 688, which Washington state voters approved in 1998. The initiative requires the state to adjust the minimum wage according to the change in the federal "CPI-W," which is a national index covering the cost of goods and services needed for day-to-day living. That index rose 4.258 percent during the 12 months ending Aug. 31, 2011.

L&I provides an announcement of the 2012 minimum wage to print out and use as needed. This announcement is not required by L&I or Washington state law. It is provided as a convenience.

Employers are still required to post the "Your Rights as a Worker" poster, which provides general information about the minimum wage and other topics.

Free workplace posters are available from any L&I office or by calling 1866-219-7321 or downloading from the L&I website at


For media information: Elaine Fischer, L&I, 360-902-5413 or visit the L&I News and Media Center at

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