Washington Set To Raise Minimum Wage

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, “The Washington Restaurant Association assailed a decision to increase the state’s minimum wage by 1.4 percent next year, saying Monday the move will force restaurant operations to cut jobs.”

“On Friday, the state’s Department of Labor and Industries announced that the minimum wage will increase to $8.67 per hour, a 12-cent increase from the current rate, beginning Jan. 1, 2011. The current minimum wage of $8.55 per hour is already among the highest in the nation. ‘Businesses are the key to creating more jobs, which we all know is critical right now,’ said Anthony Anton, the WRA’s president and chief executive officer. ‘An increase in minimum wage will force [restaurant] operators to look for ways to cut costs to pay for the increase. Unfortunately for the majority of operators, the only thing left to cut is staff.’ Anton noted that the state’s announcement comes “amidst a Social Security benefit freeze, state employee wage freezes and state employee furloughs.” Even more, the restaurant industry has shed close to 13,000 jobs over the past two years because of economic headwinds. The state’s restaurant industry has also been forced to swallow increased payroll taxes and licensee fees, as well as increased liquor costs, he said.”

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