Senate committee to hear $12 minimum wage bill; beginning to see effects in Seattle

The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee hears the House-passed $12 statewide minimum wage bill, HB 1355 today. Unintended consequences are not unusual when it comes to changes in payroll costs. As the Washington Research Council notes, some Seattle restaurants are already implementing changes in tip policy. 

The Council links to this Seattle Times story.

On Wednesday, Ivar’s will raise the wages of about 100 employees who make less than $15 at its sit-down restaurant Ivar’s Salmon House, at the north end of Lake Union

Those servers, bussers, dishwashers and others will see an increase in their hourly pay to a flat $15. They will not, however, get any tips because the restaurant will now tell customers they do not need to tip. To make up for that, the restaurant will share its menu-price increases with the employees. Ivar’s management expects that, under the new system, its hourly staff’s annual pay will end up being the same as, or higher than, what they earned last year.​

Also from the story:

Servers and bartenders at the Salmon House in 2014 made the state minimum wage of $9.32 an hour, along with $18 to $19 an hour in tips, on average, Donegan said, adding that the restaurant’s typical server or bartender made about $60,000 a year last year.

From our research report,

Washington employers and residents alike place a high priority on the equitable compensation and protection of those in the workforce. Policymakers must carefully consider wage and benefits mandates and system to ensure that such protection are maintained in a cost-effective manner so that employers can create more job opportunities for Washington citizens.

 The experiment continues…