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Washington's minimum wage to increase to $13.69 in 2021 due to inflation

This is the first time since 2016 that Washington has used inflation to calculate a new minimum wage.

TUMWATER, Wash. — Washington state’s minimum wage will increase 19 cents to $13.69 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2021, which is the first increase determined by inflation instead of a voter-approved ballot measure that determined increases over the past four years. 

The increase was announced Wednesday by the state Department of Labor and Industries. 

It was determined by a 1.39% increase to the consumer price index over the last year.

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It also affects wages paid to some salaried employees exempt from overtime. Salaried executive, administrative and professional workers, and computer professionals must earn a salary above a minimum specified amount to remain overtime exempt. Starting in 2021, that amount will increase based on the number of employees at a business. 

That threshold is 1.5 times the minimum wage, or $42,712.80 per year, for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The threshold is 1.75 times the minimum wage, or $49,831.60 per year, for large businesses with more than 51 employees.

This particular hourly wage increase will not affect Seattle and SeaTac, which each set their own minimum wages.

In Seattle, the minimum wage was $16.39 per hour in 2020 for large employers, and the 2021 wage will be adjusted based on inflation. The Seattle Office of Labor Standards is expected to announce the 2021 minimum wage increase this fall.

In SeaTac, the minimum wage was $16.34 per hour in 2020.

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