January 1, 2021, that's THIS Friday, I'm getting a raise to $13.69/hr......nice. The minimum wage in Washington, already near the highest rate among states in the Union, will rise 1.39% to meet the rising cost of everything.

You can find one question at the top of the FAQ (frequently asked questions) list this time of year for the people working at the state's Labor and Industries Office: "Am I getting a raise? Is minimum wage going up?"

Yes and yes.

The state’s minimum wage will increase to $13.69 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2021. It’s based on a 1.39 percent increase over the last 12 months in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

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 14-15. For 2021, the wage for that younger age group will be $11.64 per hour.

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“If you receive the minimum wage, and worked during December but are paid in January for that time, then you’ll receive the 2020 minimum wage,” said Joshua Grice, Employment Standards Program manager at L&I. “This is something we remind businesses and employees about frequently.”

New salary thresholds for exempt employees:

Salaried executive, administrative and professional workers, and computer professionals must perform certain specified duties, and earn a salary above a minimum specified amount to remain overtime exempt. For 2021, it means:

  • For small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, an exempt employee must earn a salary of at least 1.5 times the minimum wage, or $821.40 a week ($42,712.80/year).
  • For large businesses with 51 or more employees, an exempt employee must earn a salary of at least 1.75 times the minimum wage, or $958.30 a week ($49,831.60/year).

The new thresholds are a part of changes to the overtime rules that took effect July 1, 2020. There also are threshold changes for exempt computer professionals paid by the hour. Click here for that.

Go to the L&I's website for details about overtime, rest breaks, and meal periods. Also, there is a new, free, "Your Rights as a Worker" poster that businesses in Washington are required to display in their workplace.

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