The Washington Hospitality Association was the lone voice for moderation on minimum wage for the majority of 2016. On the first day of the 2016 Legislative Session, a labor backed group called Raise Up Washington held a press conference announcing their intention to file a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage. Throughout the year The Washington Hospitality Association met with legislators, labor representatives, and stakeholders to find a state-wide legislative solution to increase the minimum wage in ways other than a ballot initiative. During this polarized election year a compromise could not be found.
Throughout the legislative session members were kept abreast of all the work being done on the issue in our weekly Legislative News email. You can see all of the Legislative News emails 2016 at: http://bit.do/HOTG.
From the end of August through September The Washington Hospitality Association held a series of online webinars about the initiative and minimum wage where members could participate and ask questions.
Details about the initiative were also provided during regional Government Affairs committee meetings that took place across Washington in the months of October and November.
On July 6, 2016, 360,000 signatures were turned in to the Secretary of State’s office more than qualifying I-1433 to be placed on the ballot. The Washington Hospitality Association, in a coalition with other state business associations, issued a press release regarding the impacts of I-1433 on July 6, within hours of enough signatures being gathered. You can read the release at http://wahospitality.org/blog/i-1433.
Shortly thereafter The Washington Hospitality Association and the coalition of other associations banded together to back a “NO” campaign on the initiative. You can see the coalition website at defeat1433.com. Work within the coalition included interviews by both the CEO and restaurant members with newspapers, on radio and TV, and in social media. An ad was created by the coalition which can be seen at: http://bit.do/I1433ad.
The Washington Hospitality Association is opposed to I-1433 because we need a minimum wage that benefits everyone. I-1433 doesn’t work for non-urban communities that can’t absorb a 30% increase in the minimum wage; reduces the ability of youth to find jobs and gain valuable experience; and the combined impact of paid-leave requirements and wage increases instituted at once, is a costly shock wave to employers who already face an excess of mandates.
Key provisions of I-1433:
I-1433 will raise statewide minimum wage to $13.50 per hour by 2020. The first jump from the current $9.47 to $11 an hour will go into effect on January 1, 2017, less than two months after the November election.
- Raises the minimum wage to
- $11/hour in 2017;
- $11.50/hr in 2018;
- $12/hour in 2019; and
- jumps to $13.50 in 2020
- Tips will not count towards the minimum wage.
- Service charges will not count towards the minimum wage (accept while fulfilling the higher Seattle wage requirement).
- Paid sick leave accrues at 1 hour per 40 hours worked starting in 2018.
- Employees are entitled to use paid leave after 90 days of employment.
- Unused paid leave can be carried over into the following year.
Through the coalition the Washington Hospitality Association sent out a press release after 9 p.m. on November 8 night when passage of I-1433 was confirmed. You can see the release at here. The Washington Hospitality Association continues to help our members deal with ambiguous parts of this new law and be their number one information resource. To that end we have compiled a list of FAQ’s to help navigate next steps.