Still highest in the nation, state minimum wage set to rise 15 cents to $9.47 in 2015

Workers who earn the minimum wage in Washington will see an increase of 15 cents per hour in 2015, the state Department of Labor & Industries reported Tuesday.

The new hourly rate, $9.47, will once again place Washington ahead of all states for the hourly rate earned by workers. Oregon workers, who earn the nation’s second-highest rate, will earn $9.25 in 2015.

The change will affect more than 67,000 workers statewide, the agency said in a release.

The change in Washington’s rate minimum hourly rate is calculated based on changes to the federal Consumer Price Index. The CPI rose 1.59 percent over the past year.

Earlier this month, L&I reported that workers and employers in the state will see an overall 1.8 percent increase in worker’s compensation premiums in 2015.

That increase, according to an L&I release, will help cover wage and disability benefits, as well as costs for treatment of injuries and illnesses.

Different classifications of workers will find differing changes to the premium charged next year.

For example, workers at hop and mint farms will find their premiums increasing by 6 percent, or $30 per year, while workers involved in the construction of overhead power and transmission lines face a decrease of 14 percent, or $91 annually deducted from their paychecks. Employers of the farmers and construction workers will see an increase of $64 per year and a decrease of $861 per year respectively.

Among other selected categories, the shipbuilding industry will see a decrease of 3 percent in premiums; newspaper publishing an increase of 1 percent; non-scheduled airline ground crews a decrease of 2 percent; and department and antique store workers an increase of 4 percent.

National Football teams will find an increase of 3 percent; colleges and universities an increase of 6 percent; and blacksmiths a decrease of 2 percent.

Public hearings on the proposed rate increases will be held beginning later this month in Bellingham, Spokane, Richland, Tumwater, Tukwila and Vancouver. The Tumwater meeting is scheduled for Oct. 27 at 9 a.m. at the L&I Building.

Those who wish to comment in writing should contact Jo Anne Attwood, administrative regulations analyst, P.O. Box 41448, Olympia, WA 98504-4148; or email joanne.attwood@lni.wa.gov. All comments must be received by 5 p.m., Nov. 3, 2014.

More information regarding the rates proposal is available at Rates.lni.wa.gov. Final rates will be adopted by Dec. 1 and go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.