Small business owners will be affected by the new minimum wage

Initiative 1433 passed Nov. 8, 2016, starting from January 2017 onwards, the minimum wage will increase in gradual increments and by 2020, it will be $13.50 per hour. Beginning January 2018, employers will be required to provide paid sick leave to employees covered by the Minimum Wage Act and by January 202, the rate would adjust each year per rate of inflation.

I-1433 will follow the footsteps of last year’s initiatives. Seattle’s $15 per hour minimum wage Initiative was approved in the year 2015 and will gradually increase the minimum wage until 2022, when the wage caps at $15 an hour. The ordinance was put into effect Apr. 1, 2016 raising minimum hourly wage from $9.47 to $11 an hour.

Tacoma approved Initiative No. 1B to raise minimum wage to increase the city’s pay to $12 per hour by 2018 through three phases. Tacoma’s minimum hourly wage started with $10.35 on Feb. 1, 2016 and will increase annually with $11.15 in 2017 and $12 on 2018.

According to the Seattle Times, some business owners are opposed to the initiative because, while Seattle’s economy is booming, the rest of the state is not. Employees are benefiting from the pay raise to better improve their lifestyles and bring more income to support families. Opponents do not agree with the new minimum wage because of the high costs and new adjustments needed to fulfill the new pay for employees.

Employee of Ages in Stages located in Seattle, teacher Lisa Watson said on regards, of the new I-1433 “I think it will be a positive effect. I think any raise is a great step in the right direction. I think it’ll be really good, it will benefit people like me that have kids. We live paycheck by paycheck basically.”

Childcare Ages in Stages business owner Stacie Blair said, the new minimum wage has already affected her business. Blair has subsidized parents who have lost childcare due to the raises. She then added “sick pay encourages staff to take time off even if they do not need it because they will lose it if they do not use it. We are in the field where staff get sick often so having paid time off and trying to meet ratios does not work for my business at all.”

When asked about Initiative No. 1B and the effect on the business, Hello Cupcake owner, Allix Zemcik said “I also don’t give as many raises as I did before, since I increased everyone’s pay as a result of the initiative. The increased cost of labor has definitely had an effect, but we are still doing well!” Zemcik has also adjusted to last year’s initiative.

Both owners were impacted by the initiatives passed in 2015 by having to adjust to the annual new raises and covering utilities for the businesses. Blair prepares herself for this upcoming 2017 to raise the tuition for parents by a percentage in order to cover for all employees’ new pay and utilities.

IMAGE BY ALEXX ELDER
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