Minimum wage rings in with new year

Washington’s new minimum wage of $8.55 per hour takes effect Jan. 1.

The new rate, the highest in the nation, is a 48-cent increase from the current minimum wage of $8.07. A full-time worker at the new rate will earn $17,784 per year – $1,000 more than 2008 and $4,160 more than the federal minimum of $6.55 per hour.

Washington’s increase was approved by voters statewide in 1998 and ties the state’s minimum to the cost-of-living index.

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