EMPLOYMENT LAW NEWS

Renton, Washington Voters Adopt New Minimum Wage

By Dana Holle, GovDocs Associate Counsel
Employment Law and Compliance
Published March 5, 2024
Minimum Wage Rate to Increase for Renton, Washington Employers 2024 GovDocs

Renton is now the third jurisdiction in Washington, along with Bellingham and Tukwila, to have a minimum wage ballot initiative passed by voters in the last two years.

What is the Minimum Wage in Renton, Washington in 2024?

On July 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Renton, Washington will increase to $20.29 per hour for large employers and $18.29 for all other covered employers.  

During the Feb. 13, 2024 Special Election in Washington State, voters in the City of Renton passed Citizen Initiative Measure No. 23-02 (Measure No. 23-02), enacting a new minimum wage ordinance for employers in the city. Measure No. 23-02 passed with 58.04% of the votes, making it the fifth local jurisdiction in Washington to establish a minimum wage rate above the state’s current minimum wage rate of $16.28.  

Renton’s New Minimum Wage Schedule 

Measure No. 23-02 requires covered employers to pay employees the minimum wage for each hour worked within the city boundaries of Renton. The ordinance applies to employers who either employ at least 15 employees or have an annual gross revenue of over $2 million. 

There are also two minimum wage schedules, one for “large employers” and another for “other covered employers.” Large employers include employers with more than 500 employees worldwide and franchisees associated with a franchisor of more than 500 aggregate employees. 

Other covered employers include the remaining covered employers who did not qualify as large employers. Notably, the minimum wage schedule for other covered employers has a multi-year phase-in period compared to large employers. 

The minimum wage schedule for large employers is as follows:

  • Effective Date
  • July 1, 2024
  • Jan. 1, 2025, and annually thereafter
  • Large employers Min. Wage 
  • $20.29
  • Increase by annual rate of inflation
    (CPI-W) 

The minimum wage schedule for other covered employers is as follows: 

  • Effective Date
  • July 1, 2024
  • July 1, 2025
  • July 1, 2026
  • Jan. 1, 2026, and annually thereafter
  • Other Covered Employers Min. Wage
  • $18.29 
  • 2025 Large Employer Rate less $1.00
  • Large Employer Rate
  • Increase by annual rate of inflation
    (CPI-W) 

The minimum wage rates will ultimately adjust based on the annual rate of inflation, which is calculated through the average growth rate of the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Area Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the prior 12-month period. 

Additional Wage and Hour Requirements 

Employers must also pay their employees all tips, gratuities, and service charges, unless the service charges are excluded under the state’s minimum wage law. As a reminder, tips and service charges paid to an employee are not allowed to be counted towards the employee’s hourly minimum wage in Washington, thus there is no tip credit for employers. 

Renton further requires employers to provide fair access to additional hours of work to existing, qualified part-time employees before hiring additional employees or subcontractors. Additional provisions, including employer classification, retaliation protections, and enforcement procedures, should be reviewed alongside any minimum wage rate changes.  

Will There Be a Poster Release?  

Measure No. 23-02 does not include a labor law posting or notice requirement. However, it requires the City of Renton to adopt rules and procedures implementing the new minimum wage ordinance. Often, the city will include the minimum wage posting requirement in the newly adopted rules, which occurred with Tukwila, Washington. 

While neither the rules nor a poster have been released by city officials, Renton should be on employers’ radar during the next several months. 

Conclusion 

Renton is now the third jurisdiction in Washington, along with Bellingham and Tukwila, to have a minimum wage ballot initiative passed by voters in the last two years. This trend will likely continue as these types of ballot initiatives have high approval ratings. Tracking minimum wage ballot measures at the local and state level is an arduous task, but the GovDocs Minimum Wage solution can simplify these types of challenges.  

This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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