State House passes, sends Senate bills to raise minimum wage to $12, require paid sick leave

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Minimum Wage Workers Demonstrate For Better Living Wage

Activists protest for higher wages outside a McDonald's restaurant on April 8, 2014 in Stamford, Connecticut. Demonstrations were organized across the state by Connecticut Working Families to bring attention to minumum wages paid by fast food chains and Wal-Mart stores. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The state House voted 51-46 Tuesday to raise Washington’s minimum wage to $12 an hour over a four-year period.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

Washington has the highest minimum wage in the nation at $9.47.

The House-passed bill would raise the minimum wage over a four-year period in a series of 50-cent hikes.

Democrats are sponsoring the legislation to help low-income workers. Business owners say it would cut profits and lead to higher prices.

Under Washington’s current law, the minimum wage goes up every January with inflation. The Employment Security Department said this year’s minimum wage hike affected more than 67,000 workers.

Later Tuesday, the state House passed a bill requiring many of the state’s employers to offer employees paid sick leave.

The bill passed the Democratic-controlled chamber in a 51-46 party-line vote Tuesday after a short debate. It would require all businesses in the state with more than four full-time employees to give workers at least five days a year of sick and safe leave.

The leave time could be used if a worker is ill, needs to care for a sick family member, or to deal with dangerous conditions at home or work.

Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, who sponsored the bill, said over a million workers in Washington currently do not have any paid sick leave at their jobs.

The bill next moves to the Senate for consideration.


Gov. Jay Inslee, who watched the state House vote on the minimum wage in person, issued this statement afterward:

“Today the House passed two modest, measured and much-needed bills to give an economic lift to thousands of Washington’s lowest-wage workers.

“I’ve always believed that a person who is willing and able to work hard for 40 hours a week should be able to provide the most basic needs for themselves and their families. Washington’s economy is recovering, but it is leaving behind an increasing number of low- and middle-income workers. An increase in the state minimum wage and paid sick and safe leave for all workers are good steps toward restoring a degree of economic security for those who need it most.

“I hope the Senate will act on these bills and follow the House’s leadership in building an economy that works for all Washingtonians.”

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  • Alan Grizzlyironbear Suire

    When will people learn that raising the minimum wage only serves to raise the cost of products and services equally? Case in point: Local fast food restaurant chain makes a burger for 2 dollars their cost. The standard markup would be about 1-2 dollars more, to cover wages, taxes, insurance, and bills. Then you also have to turn a profit, so now that burger costs 6 bucks. Then, the state decides you have to now pay your workers double, which now doubles your cost of labor and taxes. Also, now with the government mandated health insurance that your required to carry, that 6 dollar burger tops out at almost 11 dollars for a measly 50 cent profit. Raising minimum wage looks like a great idea on paper, but in the real world, it’s just not reasonable.

      • "peety"

        and you believe everything you hear on Fox News? He is wrong. There is no city or state that has raised a minimum wage and lost jobs. It’s pure fallacy. 20 states have raised their own minimum wage in recent years and those states have higher growth than the states that didn’t.

        More money in workers pockets means more spending.

        • dg54321

          LOL good old Petey. Still can’t argue facts and logic, still has to pull out the tired, worn out “FOX News” card. See, that’s not playable anymore. You’re on FOX news, in case you forgot. You’re just as guilty as anybody you’re trying to disparage, not that it’s even an insult, despite your attempts to make it one.

          • "peety"

            q 13 is independently owned. They are not forced to follow the fictional script of the syndicated show.

            Show me one city or state that lost jobs after a minimum wage increase. you can’t. Fact is, states that raised the minimum wage experienced more growth ,not less

            Even in Seattle, the guy who was against the $15 an hour wage, claiming he would go out of business, just opened a second bar on Capital Hill.

  • dg54321

    Good Lord, talk about self destructing the economy. But then, that seems to be the end goal of the socialists in Olympia and Seattle.

    • "peety"

      Facts? Nope, just more sour grapes from the guy who thinks our tax dollars are to be used to subsidized employees of private businesses experiencing record profits in the recovery. You want the rich to be richer off the backs of the middle class. Why?

  • tootietuttle

    this should solve the traffic issues. If everyone loses their $12 an hour job, they have nothing to complain about, don’t need to drive to work, and won’t clog I-5. Brilliant plan, dems…

  • Bob

    I am sick and tired people of the complaining over raising the minimum wage in the State of Washington when the expense to live hear is really high. I guess it’s OK for the greedy companies to keep getting richer and it’s OK to tax us off our lands we paid to live on for decades; but it’s not OK to raise the minimum wage so people can at least survive. If they don’t raise the minimum wage here in the State of Washington there will be more homeless people on our streets. It’s bad enough now as it is; but if anyone thinks that raising the minimum wage is wrong, you all have you heads up your butts. Open your eyes people. Go downtown Seattle and spend some time and you’ll see just a small portion of the homeless people on the streets. There are many homeless people throughout the State of Washington on the streets you don’t see every day because you are not where they are to see them all on the streets in your warm and comfy homes with fat bellies filled with food they don’t have. This is partially due to lack of funds to put a roof over their heads because of the minimum wage here right now. The cost of living is high here in the State of Washington and getting worse by the day. Wake up people.

    • aintno1special

      Cost of living in WA is far lower than any other state that has an average income of $50k. Do some actual research before you make a statement like you did. WA already had the nation’s highest minimum wage, and Seattle is about the 30th most expensive city to live in.

      • james

        so basically what most of you people are saying is it okay for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer in my opinion that’s not right
        and you guys are also saying it’s okay for them to employ us cheaply and it’s not okay for us to make a decent living while we’re making them richer by doing our jobs and they’re giving us $9.00 an hour

        • aintno1special

          Basically what I am saying is that if you don’t want to make minimum wage (a starting wage) do something to get a better job! Your view point is akin to a criminal making the statement of “I guess you just like keeping me in prison, because you keep making what I do illegal.” Do you understand the term “minimum wage” and what it is designed for?

  • The World is Ending

    All of you saying raise the minimum wage, are forgetting that those jobs are ment to be STARTING JOBS, not a career, fast food is not, was not will never be ment to be a full time career. Want more money 1) stay in school (AKA stop skipping school to hang out with “friends” ) 2) go to college. Befor you say you can’t afford it, thousands and thousand of $$$ in grants and scholarships go un used every year simply because nobody ask for them ( no I an not going to do the research again to find them, turn off you Games stop texting about “who is boinking who” and find the $$$)

  • David Laster

    Seems like this sort of things is more gov’t intrusion. Health care is now mandatory, unless you have health insurance from an employer. Making the minimum wage jump up like this is going to affect business that it wouldn’t be good for, business know what they need to make to stay in business, if the gov’t gets involved like this, it isn’t going to be good for small businesses or business owners that don’t want to change and increase wages. It affects profits, some businesses won’t survive.

    • "peety"

      if it is so basic, show us where that has happened? Seattle has the highest minimum wage in the Nation and there are not enough construction cranes to keep up with the record setting growth.

  • RJack

    Seems as though the democrats want to wage war on small business and those that work for small business. When labor costs go up substantially, businesses have only a few options to compensate. Raise prices substantially and hope everyone still will come in (if not look for reduced employment, cut hours, relocation, cut benefits, automation, wage compression or closing up). A company in Seattle is already eliminating 100 jobs and moving them to Nevada partially because of the drastic new hike there. Raising the minimum wage has never reduced income inequality. The state of Washington already has one of the highest teen unemployment rates in the country. More small businesses are already closing as opposed to opening. This will hurt not help. Minimum wage jobs were never meant to be a stopping point, get a better education and the skills needed to proceed forward.

  • Phil Bebbington III

    “Business owners say it would cut profits and lead to higher prices.”
    In other news, humans need oxygen to live.
    Why is is that only business owners get to express concerns, millions of people are living below the poverty line with the min wage. It’s disgusting that owner’s get to be selfish and only care about profit margins when their workers have barely any money to get by in society, capitalism is horrifying.

    • dg54321

      Minimum wage is not, nor has it ever been, a living wage. It is a minimum wage.

      Capitalism has brought the US to the stage and made it the #1 super power in the world. Attempts to change that have endangered that standing.

      Maybe you should read a book.

  • sheila

    Look at Applebee’s. You order & pay for your meal
    At the table on a iPad type. All you need is a person to bring you the food. If wages go up you will have to get your own food at the window!! I for one would not tip anyone making $12-15 an hour.

    • "peety"

      your agreement made sense in the 70’s when we had manufacturing jobs still. We don’t have that anymore. Our low pay work force is now service industry jobs. They are careers. Why would you want the guy who cooks and serves your food to live in his car and shower infrequently?

  • Cory Liberty

    I have been shopping for businesses in Oregon and Washington and its hard to find businesses that make over $70,000 a year. I’m looking into businesses that require no employees like laundromats that have become a must for people wanting to own a business. I have also owned restaurants in the past including one that grossed 1.3 million but my net was only $85,000. With 30 employees the wage increase would put me in the red without increasing the prices of food. It looks like I will start shopping in Phoenix because the business environment is not healthy.

  • john mange

    Did anyone ever notice that around November or December, Mcdonald and most fast food will raise the price by 5 or 10 cents and then come February or March, they did the same to cover the increase of min. wage. let look at the MCdonald special. in Seattle area, sometime Mcdonald will have special of $5 for 2 big mac or breakfast sandwich. This equal to about 1/2 hour of min wage work. In Phoneix AZ area, their special is $340 for 2 breakfast sandwich. AZ has a $8.10 min wage. The special in AZ cost about 25 minutes of min. wage work. I live in Seattle and my daughter live in AZ. I am sure that in other state, it will work out about the same. I do not believe that raising the min wage will cause employers to lay off workers but it will certainly make them raise the price. What good does it do to the min. wage worker to have to pay more of everything they buy. Politicians only do that to get people to vote for them just like the Seattle city council woman. Will she ever get elect if she did not promise to raise the min. wage. I doubt it because she has no other platform to run on.

  • "Old Bastard"

    Let’s look at a factual example how this will affect a business in WA. We are a union facility with 7 different job grades ranging from $11.00/hr to over $17.00/hr. Our benefits package exceeds 28% of true benefit expense on top of that. If the minimum wage is raised to $12.00, then we would be required to retain the same delta between each job grades and raise every employee a minimum of $1.00/hr. The annual increase in labor cost to us is over $1.3MM/year…every year.
    Since my primary competition for similar goods is located in states with a minimum wage of $7.25 and $8.00/hr respectively, my equivalent cost to produce the identical product is over $7.0MM/year higher!! Now, tell me how I can effectively compete and stay in business in the great state of Washington when you, the consumer will not pay more for my goods vs. that of my competitor?

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