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Dec. 23, 2003

Minimum wage goes to $7.16 an hour Jan. 1

TUMWATER — 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 & 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 that differ from federal law, the higher rate applies. For more information, including a 2004 poster that employers can download, go to L&I’s minimum wage web site, www.LNI.wa.gov/scs/workstandards/minwage.htm.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: L&I issued a news release Sept. 30 on the new minimum wage. That release, with more information, is available at www.LNI.wa.gov/news/2003/pr030930a.htm. Today’s news release is a reminder of the coming wage-rate change.

For more information, contact Lisa Pemberton, L&I Public Affairs, at 360-902-5405 or peml235@lni.wa.gov.

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