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New minimum wage takes effect Jan. 1

Washington’s minimum wage increases 48 cents to $8.55 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2009.

Washington’s minimum wage applies to workers in both agriculture and non-agricultural jobs, although 14- and 15-year-olds may be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $7.27 an hour.

The Department of Labor & Industries revises the state’s minimum wage each year in September as required by Initiative 688, which Washington state voters approved in 1998. The initiative requires the state to adjust the minimum wage according to the change in the federal “CPI-W,” which is a national index covering the cost of goods and services needed for day-to-day living. That index rose 5.9 percent over 12 months, ending Aug. 31, 2008.

Minimum wage and worker rights posters are available from any L&I office, by phone at 1­-866-219-7321 or online at the L&I Web site, www.wages.Lni.wa.gov.

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