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 Washington state minimum wage, 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.
If you are a full-time worker on minimum wage in Washington, your earnings could be as follows:
- Daily Minimum Wage: $125.92 (based on an 8-hour working day).
- Weekly Minimum Wage: $629.60 (based on a 40-hour week).
- Yearly Minimum Wage: $32,739.20 (based on being paid 52 weeks per year).
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.
You can view and download the official Washington minimum wage labor law poster for 2022-2023 here at no charge. Employers must display a poster outlining the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), ensuring that accurate employee time and pay records are kept.
Like the majority of other states, there are exceptions to the Washington state minimum wage depending on the location of your business. For example, Seattle’s minimum wage is $18.69 per hour in 2023.
Washington Minimum Wage Exemptions
In addition to the regular minimum wage rate, there are a few Washington state minimum wage exemptions that typically depend on your age or employment situation. Below are the various minimum wage exemptions with some situational examples.
Below is a graphic displaying the Washington minimum wage exemptions:
Washington Student Minimum Wage
The minimum wage for student employees in Washington is 85% of the Washington minimum wage, making their hourly pay $13.38 per hour in 2023.
This hourly rate is for any hours worked up to 20 hours per week. As a student employee, once you surpass 20 hours per week, you will be eligible to be paid the Washington state minimum wage rate of $15.74 per hour.
Being a student can be financially challenging, leading many students to pick up part-time jobs to make extra money while studying. Despite a student minimum wage rate, many Washington employers will not necessarily follow it and pay you equal to or more than the statewide minimum wage.
Many work-study programs are available at universities, which is a route many students go down. Still, coffee shop, cafe, bar, and restaurant jobs are commonly taken by students as they can work them into their class schedule.
Washington Under 20 Minimum Wage
If you are under 20 years old in Washington, federal law allows your employer to pay you as little as $4.25 per hour for your first 90 days of employment.
Once the 90-day period is over, you will be eligible to be paid the 2023 Washington minimum wage of $15.74 per hour or potentially even more.
Fortunately for young workers, this is 90 calendar days and not 90 working days; therefore, it can be completed relatively quickly and within about three months.
Washington Tipped Minimum Wage
If you are a tipped employee in Washington (someone who receives regular tips as a part of their job) then you are eligible to be paid a minimum wage of $15.74, which is the same as the statewide minimum wage rate, unlike most other states.
Washington Overtime Minimum Wage
Once you work over 40 hours a week, you are eligible to be paid an overtime rate of 1.5 times your hourly wage for every hour you work past 40. So, the overtime minimum wage in Washington is $23.61 per hour, 1.5 times the minimum wage of $15.74 per hour.
Washington State Minimum Wage History
The table below provides the current rate and history of Washington’s minimum wage over the past 40+ years since 1983. You can see when there were increases in the minimum wage, how much they were, and what percentage increase it represents each year.
|State||Wage||$ Wage Increase||% Increase|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2023||$15.74||$1.25||8.62%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2022||$14.49||$0.80||5.84%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2021||$13.69||$0.19||1.4%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2020||$13.50||$1.50||12.5%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2019||$12.00||$0.50||4.3%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2018||$11.50||$0.50||4.5%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2017||$11.00||$1.53||16%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2016||$9.47||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2015||$9.47||$0.15||1.6%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2014||$9.32||$0.15||1.6%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2013||$9.19||$0.15||1.6%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2012||$9.04||$0.37||4.3%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2011||$8.67||$0.12||1.4%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2010||$8.55||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2009||$8.55||$0.48||5.9%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2008||$8.07||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2007||$7.95||$0.60||8.16%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2006||$7.35||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2005||$7.35||$0.19||2.65%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2004||$7.16||$0.15||2.13%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2003||$7.01||$0.11||1.59%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2002||$6.90||$0.18||2.67%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2001||$6.72||$0.22||3.38%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 2000||$6.50||$0.80||14.03%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1999||$5.70||$0.80||16.32%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1998||$4.90||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1997||$4.90||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1996||$4.90||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1995||$4.90||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1994||$4.90||$0.65||15.29%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1993||$4.25||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1992||$4.25||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1991||$4.25||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1990||$4.25||$0.40||10.38%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1989||$3.85||$1.55||67.39%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1988||$2.30||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1987||$2.30||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1986||$2.30||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1985||$2.30||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1984||$2.30||$0||0%|
|Washington Minimum Wage 1983||$2.30||$0||0%|