Today’s filing of an initiative to increase the statewide minimum wage to $13.50 over four years is a necessary step to help workers and families in Washington state. No matter where a family lives in our state, a parent working full time at today’s minimum wage and raising two children cannot meet their family’s basic needs without assistance or without cutting back on necessities like food or utilities.
This proposal would raise wages for 730,000 low-wage Washington workers. Women and people of color would especially benefit, given that nearly 30 percent of women workers and more than 40 percent of Black and Latino workers currently make less than $13.50 per hour.
An increase from $10 per hour to $13.50 per hour would provide an additional $607 to a low-wage worker per month for basic needs. This is equivalent to feeding a family of four for a month, or covering the cost of buying health insurance for an adult in most parts of the the state.
Overall, this would mean an additional $2.5 billion more in earnings for low-wage workers. Because those workers are likely to spend additional resources on necessities like food and clothing, communities and businesses throughout the state would benefit. (See our updated minimum wage fact sheet, “Three Reasons to Raise Minimum Wage,” for more details. )
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The proposed initiative to increase the minimum wage – which also pushes for improving paid sick leave policies – will help us build an economy that works for everyone.
And for more analysis on the many reasons why raising the wage is good for Washingtonians, read our updated minimum wage FAQ.