Seattle OKs Minimum Wage Hike to $15 Per Hour


The Seattle city council voted unanimously on Monday to approve a hike in the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour, to be phased in over the next seven years.

Under the terms of the plan, businesses with fewer than 500 workers must raise wages to a minimum of $15 per hour over the next seven years.

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Larger businesses or franchises must meet that level within three years, or four if they provide health insurance. The current minimum wage in Seattle is $9.32 per hour.

Seattle suburb SeaTac last year approved an initiative enacting a $15 minimum wage for many workers, although airport employees were later excluded.

President Barack Obama has pushed Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from $7.25, but has failed to win the backing of the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

The long lead-in time for implementation of the Seattle wage measure appears in part to be a compromise to placate businesses that had wanted to count tips and employer contributions for healthcare benefits toward the wage target.

(Reporting by Jimmy Lovaas; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney and Jim Loney)