Washington minimum wage increases to $11 an hour today

SEATTLE -- Workers across the state who make the least amount of money just got a raise. Sunday, the state’s minimum wage went up to $11 an hour. That amount is even higher for workers in Seattle.

“We got a great gig here, so I love working here,” said dog groomer Jordi Montes, at the Downtown Dog Lounge.

Downtown Dog Lounger Owner, Elise Vincentini, already starts her employees above that number.

“Ninety employees and just to say everybody is at least making $14 an hour, that feels really good,” said Vincentini.

“That’s huge. You know it’s hard to live in Seattle right now, and pay rent,” said Montes.

In Seattle, businesses with 500 or less, employees now have to pay a minimum between $11 and $13 an hour depending on benefits and if the employee makes tips. That number will gradually increase each year until it hits $15 an hour. So staying ahead of the pack can be tricky.

“Always a challenge, it was a challenge before it’s a bigger challenge now with the minimum,” said Vincentini.

Businesses with 501 or more employees in Seattle now have to pay employees at least $15 an hour unless that pay includes benefits or tips, then that number drop to $13.50. Those businesses will also see incremental increases over the next five years.

Something business owners will be planning for and employees will be looking forward to.