$20 Now? Pushed by inflation surge, Seattle minimum wage will reach new milestone in 2024

A decade after the first push for the $15 Now campaign, minimum wage in Seattle will reach the $20 mark.

The city’s Office of Labor Standards announced the coming milestone this week as it released the updates to the city’s minimum based on the rate of inflation in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Seattle Tacoma Bellevue area.

  • The 2024 minimum wage for large employers (501 or more employees) is $19.97/hour
  • The 2024 minimum wage for small employers(500 or fewer employees) who do not pay at least $2.72/hour toward the employee’s medical benefits and/or where the employee does not earn at least $2.72/ hour in tips is $19.97/hour.
  • The 2024 minimum wage for small employers who do pay at least $2.72/hour toward the employee’s medical benefits and/or where the employee does earn at least $2.72/hour in tips is $17.25/hour.

“Seattle has one of the nation’s highest minimum wages – a clear commitment to creating a city where working people can live and thrive,” Mayor Bruce Harrell said in the announcement about the near 7% jump. “We will continue to advance policies and programs that support working people and ensure Seattle remains a bastion for workers’ rights.” Continue reading

Seattle ready to set minimum wage for Uber, Lyft drivers

A Seattle City Council committee Thursday is preparing to move legislation forward championed by Mayor Jenny Durkan that would set a minimum wage for drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft.

The “TNC Driver Minimum Compensation Ordinance” would set “Minimum compensation standards and other labor protections for Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers” starting January 1st.

The legislation could set a minimum wage as well as include “tip protection” ensuring gratuity is passed on to drivers. It is also being lined up to regulate use of personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies in the vehicles, and require companies like Uber to be transparent in their pricing. Money will also be earmarked for a study of the minimum wage and the companies’ presence in the city. Continue reading

Time for tip credit? Capitol Hill’s independent restaurants and bars near $15 minimum wage milestone

Terra Plata (Image: CHS)

Seattle’s long march to a $15 an hour minimum wage included its biggest jump yet to start 2020.

One Capitol Hill restaurant owner and Seattle business leader says the milestone means it is time for the city to rethink how it treats tips and wages.

Linda Di Lello Morton, co-owner of Terra Plata and president of the Seattle Restaurant Alliance, says increasing costs are eating up her profits at the Melrose Market restaurant and is calling for a tip credit to help the city’s restaurant industry survive, KING reports.

“It’s going to be a challenge for sure, and the problem is more than just minimum wage,” Morton told the TV station about the 2020 minimum increase. “There’s a lot of other increases, there’s other legislation that’s passed that have increased our costs, rents are going up, triple nets are higher than they’ve ever been, property taxes are going up. That affects our bottom line.”

UPDATE 10:25 AM: Jacque Coe, communications for the Seattle Restaurant Alliance, tells CHS that the organization has no official position on a tip credit at this time. Morton did not respond to CHS’s inquiries.

Continue reading

Capitol Hill leather bar settles over city minimum wage and sick time complaint

Capitol Hill leather bar The Cuff has settled a sick time complaint with the Seattle Office of Labor Standards. The relatively small “financial remedy” will make sure dozens employees get their due, of course, but the payout can also serve as an educational moment for other employers who want to do right by the city’s Paid Sick and Safe Time and Minimum Wage ordinances.

OLS says it alleged that the Cuff was not paying the correct minimum wage in some instances and was rounding paid sick and safe time accrual down to the hour for 43 employees during the period. Continue reading

A year from ‘the big, scary jump,’ Capitol Hill small businesses take step by step approach with Seattle’s rising minimum wage

Minimum wage workers at Seattle’s small businesses continue to see their wages rise. At Elliott Bay, that can also mean people have more money to spend on books.

(Source: Seattle Office of Labor Standards)

Contrary to popular belief, Seattle does not have a $15 per hour minimum wage. At least not for every business. But the march toward $15 continues this year, and is being met with a collective yawn from many business owners around Capitol Hill, though some are looking nervously at 2020.

The slow, step by step march to $15/hour has helped.

Tracy Taylor, of Elliott Bay Book Co. said her store is managing to keep up with the increased cost of labor. She was grateful for the gradual pace of the increases so far. Moreover, she said that the increased wages have created a virtuous cycle by giving her customers more to spend.

“It appears the minimum wage is, in theory, increasing sales and consumer demand, at least from what we’ve seen. Hopefully other small businesses are finding the same,” Taylor said.

When the city implemented the minimum wage law in 2015, it started creeping toward $15 in increments, depending on the size of the company, and whether or not the company offers its employee’s benefits and/or they receive tips. Continue reading

Capitol Hill small businesses ready for 2018 bump, preparing for coming minimum wage jumps

An estimated 80,000 people who work in Seattle will be getting a raise January 1st as the city continues its long march to a $15 per hour minimum wage. That accounts for nearly 15% of the city’s workforce of 540,000. Even more could see other new benefits surrounding sick leave.

The wage increases are only part of the good news for workers. In 2016, Washington voters approved I-1433 expanding mandatory sick leave statewide. Some benefits in the initiative are more generous than those granted under city regulations, explained Karina Bull, of the city’s Office of Labor Standards.

Some of the new benefits include allowing people to take sick time to care for children of any age (the old rules only allowed for time to help minor children) and also to help siblings and grandchildren. The waiting period to qualify for paid sick time will be reduced from 180 to 90 days. Caps on the use of sick time will be forbidden. There will no longer be an exemption for employees engaged in a work-study program.

In some cases, the Seattle benefits are more generous, and will remain in place.

Bull said the City Council will likely soon consider an ordinance to implement the more generous state standards, where appropriate. Reviewing the city’s charts laying out the various changes (PDF) have become an end of the year Seattle small business tradition.

Meanwhile, in 2018, more workers will be getting more money. Continue reading

Why Capitol Hill’s newest restaurant — and plenty of others — are adding service charges

Chef and owner Brian Clevenger is celebrating the opening of Contadino and its sibling pizzeria on 19th Ave E. While he would prefer to talk about fresh pasta and pizza, he, like a growing number of Capitol Hill food and drink owners, is answering questions about an italicized note at the bottom of his menus notifying diners of a “5% service charge” that is “distributed in full to the employees you do not see” —

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 12.00.52 PM

While pro-labor advocates call the new crop of service charges added by owners like Clevenger protests of “the fact that they have to pay their workers a living wage,” the Contadino restaurateur says he is trying to find a new path to solve an issue close to his heart. And he might soon find some help from the last guy you might expect to lend a hand to a restaurant atop Capitol Hill, Seattle. Continue reading

At Central Co-op $15/hour celebration, a Seattle call for bump in national minimum wage

Capitol Hill’s Central Co-op hosted Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and a collection of officials and labor representatives Friday to mark the $15 minimum wage milestone in the city.

“I feel like this is the starting whistle for a labor movement that has become progressive, that’s fought for works, and that’s fought for the community on issue after issue,” Nicole Grant of the King County Labor Council said during her time at the mic during the small media conference inside the E Madison cooperative.

CHS reported earlier on the first wave of Seattle workers to reach the $15 minimum wage mark at large companies with more than 500 employees.

“We are very proud to play a role in the movement for providing a better, more livable wage,” Central Co-op representative Susanna Schultz said in a statement on the occasion. Continue reading

Tavolata brings first Stowell sequel — and another tipless joint to Capitol Hill

At work at Tavolata Capitol Hill (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

At work at Tavolata Capitol Hill (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

With the opening Tavolata on E Pike, Ethan and Angela Stowell brought their Belltown-born, modern Italian fare to Capitol Hill — they also brought a continuing to grow, new way of doing business in Seattle as the city transitions to a $15 minimum wage.

“People really love the Uber experience, where you just get out and don’t have to worry about tips,” Angela Stowell tells CHS.

According to the influential and prolific restauranteurs, the new, second Tavolata that opened a few weeks back in the Dunn Motors building at 501 E Pike is their first attempt at recreating one of their original restaurants and is the last Capitol Hill restaurant opening for the foreseeable future. Capitol Hill’s Tavolata has been tipless since it opened in late June. Angela Stowell said that almost all Stowell restaurants switched over to a service charge model on June 1. Tavolata joins a small but growing group of tipless bars and restaurants on Capitol Hill.

“We kind of waited to see how other people did it,” Stowell said.
Continue reading

As sibling Liberty ponders going co-op, Good Citizen focuses on coffee, not cocktails

The plans for Good Citizen, Andrew Friedman’s second Capitol Hill hangout that eased into operation more than a year ago only to quietly go dormant again, have changed. Meanwhile, Liberty, Friedman’s plucky 15th Ave E bar that made its reputation in growing Seattle’s craft cocktail scene out of equal parts integrity and bitters, is up for sale — but likely only available to a very special group of buyers: the people who work there.

After opening as an event space more than a year ago, Good Citizen on E Olive Way is, for now, anyhow, moving forward as a cafe — craft cocktail-free.

Friedman tells CHS Good Citizen re-opened “just for fun” starting Tuesday, June 21. Right now, the store only has Stumptown coffee, but Friedman says pastries, and coffee from other roasters will soon be available. You can stop by now though be prepared for a flexible schedule as Friedman’s crew sorts things out. Continue reading