Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has announced a plan to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour, the highest of any major city in the nation-and the world.
In his announcement, Murray said:
"Seattle workers are getting a raise. Throughout this process, I've had two goals: to get Seattle's low-wage workers to $15-per-hour while also supporting our employers, and to avoid a costly battle at the ballot box between competing initiatives. We have a deal that I believe accomplishes both goals."
The wage increase would be incrementally phased in over a period of time. Small businesses, with 500 employees or less will have seven years to reach the $15 an hour threshold. Within the first five years, small businesses would be required to offer employees temporary diverse compensation package of $15 per hour through a combination of employer-paid health care contributions, consumer-paid tips and employer-paid wages.
Businesses that employ more than 500 workers will have three years to reach the minimum wage. Once the $15 per hour wage is reached, future increases will be tied to the Consumer Price Index.
This move by Seattle would be a real time case study on the impact a premium minimum wage would have on businesses, productivity, and the local economy.