Minimum Wage in Washington State

Author: Jason Coles

Updated On:

The Washington state minimum wage increased by $1.25 in January 2023, from $14.49 (2022) to $15.74 per hour in 2023. This represents an 8.62% increase from 2022 to 2023.

As a US business owner, it can be a difficult task to keep up to date with the minimum wage laws and regulations, several states are increasing their minimum wage annually and some are even increasing their minimum wage twice a year!

This information should help you be more informed about the minimum wage in Washington state, whether you are an employer or an employee.

Washington has the second-highest minimum wage out of all 50 states in the U.S. and is planning on increasing it more each year. If you would like to see the top 10 highest state minimum wage rates by state, then check out our page that lists them from 1st to 10th.

The way in which specific state minimum wages are calculated is through the consumer price index and other variables such as the cost of living, house pricing, and inflation. You have to bear in mind that, just because there is a state minimum wage doesn’t mean that everywhere in that state follows the same minimum wage. There are towns, cities, and counties that sometimes use different minimum wages from the official state minimum wage.

This page is constantly updated with the latest information, but for additional information regarding the minimum wage laws in Washington, including location-based variations, law changes, and workers’ rights, take a look at the Washington Department of Labor & Industries website.

Did the Washington Minimum Wage Go Up?

The graphic below highlights the Washington state minimum wage over the past several years. The minimum wage did go up in 2023 from $14.49 per hour (in 2022) to $15.74 in 2023.

Washington State Minimum Wage 2023

Washington increased its minimum wage in 2023 from $14.49 to $15.74 per hour. This $1.25 increase has helped contribute to what is considered an extremely high wage when compared with other states, especially those still using the federal minimum wage of $7.25 to calculate their min wage. The Washington minimum wage is nearly double the federal min wage and is the second-highest in the U.S.

The state’s minimum wage laws apply to all employees in all industries, including agricultural and non-agricultural jobs. However, workers aged 15 and under can be paid a minimum of 85% of the state minimum wage.

Like the majority of other states, there are exceptions to the minimum wage in Washington state depending on the location of your business. For example, Seattle’s minimum wage is $18.69 per hour in 2023.

The location-based minimum wage rate always applies if you work in that particular part of the state, so you are entitled to the higher min wage rate in Washington if you are an employee, and you are obligated to pay the higher Washington min wage rate if you are an employer. Additionally, there is a tipped minimum wage rate in Washington state, which applies to those working in jobs that receive tips, such as restaurant servers, or bartenders, to name a few.

Washington State Minimum Wage History

The following table tracks the history of Washington’s minimum wage since 1983. There have been several increases over the years to the minimum wage in Washington.

StateWageYear$ Wage Increase% Increase
Washington Minimum Wage 2023$15.742023$1.258.62%
Washington Minimum Wage 2022$14.492022$0.805.84%
Washington Minimum Wage 2021$13.692021$0.191.4%
Washington Minimum Wage 2020$13.502020$1.5012.5%
Washington Minimum Wage 2019$12.002019$0.504.3%
Washington Minimum Wage 2018$11.502018$0.504.5%
Washington Minimum Wage 2017$11.002017$1.5316%
Washington Minimum Wage 2016$9.472016$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 2015$9.472015$0.151.6%
Washington Minimum Wage 2014$9.322014$0.151.6%
Washington Minimum Wage 2013$9.192013$0.151.6%
Washington Minimum Wage 2012$9.042012$0.374.3%
Washington Minimum Wage 2011$8.672011$0.121.4%
Washington Minimum Wage 2010$8.552010$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 2009$8.552009$0.485.9%
Washington Minimum Wage 2008$8.072008$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 2007$7.952007$0.608.16%
Washington Minimum Wage 2006$7.352006$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 2005$7.352005$0.192.65%
Washington Minimum Wage 2004$7.162004$0.152.13%
Washington Minimum Wage 2003$7.012003$0.111.59%
Washington Minimum Wage 2002$6.902002$0.182.67%
Washington Minimum Wage 2001$6.722001$0.223.38%
Washington Minimum Wage 2000$6.502000$0.8014.03%
Washington Minimum Wage 1999$5.701999$0.8016.32%
Washington Minimum Wage 1998$4.901998$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1997$4.901997$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1996$4.901996$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1995$4.901995$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1994$4.901994$0.6515.29%
Washington Minimum Wage 1993$4.251993$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1992$4.251992$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1991$4.251991$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1990$4.251990$0.4010.38%
Washington Minimum Wage 1989$3.851989$1.5567.39%
Washington Minimum Wage 1988$2.301988$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1987$2.301987$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1986$2.301986$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1985$2.301985$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1984$2.301984$00%
Washington Minimum Wage 1983$2.301983$00%
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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., Jason has written over 1,200 business plans over the past 16+ years for start-ups looking to establish and expand their footprint in the United States.