Washington to have highest state minimum wage in US starting in 2023 at $15.74 an hour

Washington will have the highest state minimum wage in the country in 2023 when it increases nearly 9% to $15.74 an hour.

The state's current minimum wage is $14.49 an hour - that's an increase of $1.25.

According to Washington's Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), the increase is "directly linked to the cost of common goods such as housing, food, and medical care as reflected in the Consumer Price Index."

State Law passed by voters in 2016 directs L&I to calculate the minimum wage for the coming year based on "the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers."

The minimum wage applies to workers age 16 and older. Under state law, 14 and 15-year-olds can be paid 85% which will be $13.38 in 2023.

RELATED: These US states are raising minimum wage in 2023, with 4 above $15

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Cities are allowed to set higher minimum wages. Seattle's minimum wage for large employers will increase from $17.27 to $18.69 an hour in 2023.

Washington's wage will be even higher than California's which is increasing to $15.50 on Jan. 1, 2023.

The four states in the country that will have minimum hourly wages at or above $15 as of Jan. 1, 2023, are Washington, California, Connecticut and Massachusetts. 

  • Washington: $15.74
  • California: $15.50
  • Connecticut: $15
  • Massachusetts: $15

Washington, D.C., however, has the highest minimum wage in the country at $16.10 an hour. Residents voted in the midterm election to require employers to pay tipped employees $16.10 an hour, regardless of how much they earn in gratuity. 

The FOX TV Stations Digital Team contributed to this report.