Seattle’s new minimum wage law took effect on Wednesday amid mixed reaction from businesses, giving some workers a bump in compensation on the way to a $15 hourly wage, among the highest big-city pay floors in the United States.
Seattle became the first major U.S. city to commit to such a high basic wage when Mayor Ed Murray proposed the plan last May. The move has since been followed to varying degrees by other cities such as San Francisco, as labor groups and workers pressure retailers and fast-food companies to pay a “living wage.”
“Today Seattle gets a raise. When our $15 minimum wage is fully phased in, more than 100,000 workers across the city will benefit,” Murray said in a statement.
The city’s minimum wage will be phased in over the next decade, and depends on a business’s size and whether it provides healthcare benefits. After $15, annual rises are tied to cost-of-living changes.
This week, workers at large businesses and national chains will see a first-step hike to $11 per hour, while those working for small companies will get at least $10 plus $1 in tips or medical-benefit plan payments.