Seattle Minimum Wage Rate

Author: Jason Coles

Updated On:

Updated On:

The Seattle minimum wage in 2023 is $18.69 per hour; however, this is only for employees that work for large businesses. A large business is one with 501 employees or more.

For small businesses (500 or fewer employees), the minimum wage is $16.50, but this is only for businesses that provide medical benefits to their employees.

Small businesses that do not provide medical benefits to their employees must pay the minimum wage rate of $18.69. Small business tipped employees in Seattle that receive $2.19 or more in tips per hour are subject to an hourly minimum wage of $16.50 per hour.

The graphic below displays the various Seattle minimum wage 2023 rates for a more visual representation of the city’s somewhat confusing minimum wage system.

Minimum Wage in Seattle Earnings

Many people choose Seattle due to the ambitions of the city, large size, huge consumer market, and plethora of fantastic opportunities with both work and a great lifestyle.

The competitiveness of Seattle and the state of Washington itself is what drives many ambitious workers and entrepreneurs to Emerald City.

Washington State has the second-highest minimum wage rate in the U.S., but the city of Seattle’s is even higher!

Let’s look at your earnings if you are an employee paid the minimum wage in Seattle for 2023:

  • If you work for a large business (501 or more employees), you could earn $747.60 if you work a full 40-hour week ($18.69 x 40). This equates to $2,990.40 per month ($747.60 x 4) and $38,875 per year ($18.69 x 2080). Now, this would also apply to you if you worked for a large business (501 or more employees) or a small business (500 or fewer employees) in Seattle and did not receive health benefits.
  • If you work for a small business in Seattle (500 or fewer employees) and receive health benefits from your employer, then you will be paid a weekly minimum wage sum of $660 ($16.50 x 40). This totals $2,640 per month ($660 x 4) and $34,320 per year ($16.50 x 2080).

Seattle Minimum Wage Exemptions

There are rules and laws to ensure that employers are paying their employees the minimum wage or above in Seattle, WA, unless they are exempt employees.

Below are the minimum wage rates for exempt employees in Seattle:

  • Seattle’s minimum wage for tipped employees is $16.50 per hour with a tip credit rate of $2.19.
  • The overtime minimum wage in Seattle is $28.03 per hour for those working for large businesses and surpassing 40 hours of work in a working week ($18.69 x 1.5).
  • The overtime minimum wage in Seattle is $24.75 per hour for those working for small businesses in Seattle and surpassing 40 hours of work in a week (16.50 x 1.5).
  • The minimum wage for employees under the age of 20 is $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of employment, and after this, they are eligible for their Seattle minimum wage rate.
  • The student minimum wage for large business employees is $15.89 per hour (85% of $18.69).
  • The student minimum wage for small business employees is $14.02 per hour (85% of $16.50)

What is the Seattle Living Wage?

Seattle is a huge city with a competitive and large job market, which is why the minimum wage is comparatively good!

However, although the minimum wage is one of the highest in the nation, residents of Seattle will still have to face the reality of rising expenses and the general cost of living.

There is a living wage for Seattle, which has been calculated based on how much an individual living in Seattle will need to make in order to successfully pay their bills, food, and the general cost of living whilst residing in the city.

The living wage for an adult living alone with no children in Seattle is $21.42 per hour (via Living Wage Calculator), which is $2.73 higher than the minimum wage for the state itself.

Several employers consider this when contemplating how much they should pay employees within Emerald City.

Taking all of the living expenses into account, the living wage annual salary (for a full-time person) in Seattle is $44,553.60 before state income tax in Washington.

Seattle Living Wage for 1 Adult

Below is a table representing the living wage in Seattle for a single adult, with different living wages for the additional amount of children they live with and care for.

Single Adult0 Children1 Child2 Children3 Children
Living Wage$21.42$38.30$47.82$65.30
Poverty Wage$6.19$8.38$10.56$12.74

Seattle Living Wage for 2 Adults

The table below showcases the living wage in Seattle for two adults with only one working, including the costs for the different numbers of dependent children.

2 Adults (1 working)0 Children1 Child2 Children3 Children
Living Wage$29.98$35.36$40.68$47.42
Poverty Wage$8.38$10.56$12.74$14.92

What is the Average Wage in Seattle?

Now that we know the minimum wage, exemptions, and the cost of living, or living wage, in Seattle, let’s take a look at what the average wage is for employees in Seattle.

According to, the average base hourly rate is approximately $34.36 per hour in Seattle. If you worked full-time (40 hours per week or 2080 hours per year), your average annual gross income would be approximately $71,468.80 before income tax is deducted.

So, as an employee or future employee in Seattle, you have a good chance of being paid a higher wage than the minimum wage of $16.50 or $18.69 per hour, depending on the size of the business and the benefits you receive.

If the living wage in Seattle is $21.42 and the average salary equates to an effective hourly rate of $34.36 per hour, Seattle is most certainly a city that is quite enticing!

The average wage in Seattle is just an average calculation, and you could earn more than this when moving to the state. However, you may be paid less, especially with the minimum wage being much lower per hour.

Final Thoughts

The Seattle minimum wage is unique to the city and is higher than the rest of Washington state’s minimum wage rate.

Not only is the minimum wage so high within the city, but the average wage is comparatively great too. Let’s not forget to mention that the living wage and cost of living are certainly manageable too.

So, Seattle is certainly a city that should be on your radar if you have ambitions of earning good money whilst unlocking many opportunities for yourself with the brilliant business climate and quality of life Seattle offers.

Minimum Wage Rates for each State


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Jason Coles

Jason Coles is the Founder of Foreign USA and its Chief Content Writer and Editor. Recognized as a prolific business plan writer by many prominent immigration attorneys in the U.S. who refer his services to their clients regularly, Jason has written over 1,365 business plans across the past 17+ years for start-up companies and franchises looking to expand their footprint in the United States. Jason is considered a seasoned expert in his field. He creates detailed business plans for his clients that include five-year financial projections, market and industry analysis reports, demographic studies, organizational charts, job descriptions, employee hiring plans, and more.