King County: New minimum wage?

A minimum wage of $18.99 per hour for people working in unincorporated parts King County is being considered by the County Council.

Similar to Seattle when the city first enacted a minimum wage, the proposal would require the full $18.99 per hour only for the largest employers, with smaller businesses required to pay $2 and $3 less per hour in the first year, based on the number of employees and annual revenue. Over time, however, the lower tiers would rise so eventually all businesses would pay the same minimum.

If approved, the new county minimum wage would take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, followed by inflation-based annual percentage increases annually each year.

Workers in unincorporated King County are always left out of policies that increase the minimum wage in neighboring cities,” said Councilman Girmay Zahilay, a proponent of the proposed increase. “That means someone working in Skyway (an unincorporated part of the county) could be paid several dollars less per hour” than if they worked in the nearby cities of Seattle or Tukwila.

“Our proposal to increase the minimum wage in unincorporated King County would be a big step toward investing in the workers and economy of every corner of our region,” he said.