Local Minimum Wage Rates Get a Boost in Washington State

Seattle 2018 Workplace PosterThree cities in the State of Washington – Seattle, Tacoma and SeaTac – have announced increases in their minimum wage rates for 2018 and have released revisions to their mandatory minimum wage notices.  Each city has a minimum wage rate that is higher than the statewide minimum wage rate which went up to $11.50 per hour this month.  Also, Seattle, Tacoma and SeaTac each have paid sick leave laws that in some respects are more generous than the benefits provided by the state’s newly-instituted Paid Sick Leave law.  These Washington cities reflect a growing trend among municipalities nationwide establishing higher local minimum wage rates and better paid sick leave benefits than state mandates.

Seattle 2018 Workplace Poster

Beginning January 1, 2018, Seattle requires employers to pay their employees who work within the geographic boundaries of the City as follows:

# of employees Benefits Minimum wage rate
501 or more employees without medical benefits $15.45 per hour
501 or more employees with medical benefits $15.00 per hour
500 or fewer employees without medical benefits $14.00 per hour
500 or fewer employees with medical benefits $11.50 per hour

In addition to showing the 2018 minimum wage rates, Seattle’s 2018 Workplace Poster has been revised to reflect other changes in local law.  As of January 1, 2018, employers operating in Seattle will be required to provide all employees who work the required number of hours within city limits with Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST).  Consequently, the employee minimum was removed from the poster. Added to the poster are the family members for whom PSST leave may be taken – child, parent, spouse, registered domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild or sibling.  These changes are consistent with the statewide paid sick leave law that went into effect on January 1, 2018.

The Seattle Workplace Poster also clarifies that employers are required to pay employees for rest breaks and pay service charges to employees, unless stated otherwise on the receipt or menu.  Service charges paid to the employee count toward Seattle’s minimum wage requirements above state minimum wage requirements.  They do not count toward the employer’s state minimum wage obligation.

Tacoma Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave

Tacoma Minimum Wage & Paid Sick Leave PosterThe Tacoma Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave notices have been updated for 2018.  The Minimum Wage notice reflects the increase in the city’s minimum wage rate to $!2.00 per hour. Tacoma’s Paid Sick Leave notice also has mandatory-to-post changes.  The local paid sick leave law has been amended to be consistent with state’s paid sick leave law.  Now, Tacoma workers can exercise the city’s paid sick leave after the first 90 days of employment.  There is no annual cap on the number of paid sick leave hours an employee can accrue.  Workers are also able to carry over up to 40 hours of unused paid sick leave to the following year.  The Paid Sick Leave notice also acknowledges that an employer may establish a universal Paid Time Off (PTO) policy to comply with the local law.  For convenience, we’ve combined the revised Tacoma Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave notices into one English poster and one Spanish poster.

SeaTac Minimum Wage

SeaTac Minimum Wage PosterOn January 1, 2018, the minimum wage rate in the City of SeaTac increased to $15.64 per hour.  The minimum wage rate applies to hospitality and transportation workers in and near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  Employers of covered hospitality and transportation workers are required to post the City of SeaTac, Washington Minimum Wage Poster.  The SeaTac minimum wage bulletin describes how the minimum wage rate is calculated each year and provides an updated contact number for the City Manager.  SeaTac’s paid sick leave benefits are not covered on the city’s mandatory labor law bulletin, but employers can find more information here.


  1. What should be the minimum wage for a small business in SeaTac with 6 employees.

    1. Thank you for the question. The 2018 SeaTac minimum wage rate is $15.64. This rate became effective on January 1, 2018. The city has the same minimum wage rate regardless of employer size. The city is expected to announce the 2019 minimum wage rate in October, 2018.

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