Washington minimum wage increases to $12 an hour in January

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state’s minimum wage will increase to $12 an hour in the new year.

The increase — up from this year’s $11.50 an hour — is part of 2016’s Initiative 1433, and will ultimately raise the state’s rate to $13.50 an hour by 2020.

Paid sick leave under the law started this past January, allowing employees to earn at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.

The state’s minimum wage applies to workers in both agriculture and non-agricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85% of the minimum wage, according to the Department of Labor and Industries, which announced the upcoming increase Thursday.

For employers in cities that already have higher minimum wages, including Seattle, the local minimum wage rate will apply as long as it is higher than the state minimum.