New report: I-1433: A “Blunt Instrument” Increasing the Minimum Wage and Mandating Paid Sick Leave

Initiative 1433 will be on the ballot in November. We consider the initiative in a new report. Briefly:

  • I-1433 would increase the state minimum wage to $13.50 over four years.
  • It would require businesses statewide to provide paid sick leave to employees.
  • One hour of paid sick leave would be earned for every 40 hours worked.
  • There would be no limit on the number of hours of leave that could be used in a year.
  • There would be no exemptions for either the minimum wage or paid sick leave provisions.
  • Washington currently has the eighth highest minimum wage in the nation.
  • Many cities and states have increased their minimum wages in recent years.
  • Seattle, Tacoma, and SeaTac have their own minimum wage ordinances.
  • Five states require paid sick leave.
  • Seattle, SeaTac, Tacoma, and Spokane have their own paid sick leave requirements.
  • The economic literature shows that increasing the minimum wage results in reduced employment, fewer jobs created, no net poverty reduction, and declines in economic mobility.
  • Mandated benefits increase the cost of hiring employees.
  • By sector, minimum wage jobs are concentrated in accommodation and food services, retail trade, and agriculture.
  • Geographically, they are concentrated in counties in central Washington.
  • 32 percent of the total state workforce earns less than $13.50.
  • Businesses may respond to higher costs by laying off workers, reducing hours, creating fewer jobs, automating, increasing prices, or moving.
  • Employment mandates like an increased minimum wage and paid sick leave, in combination with other business costs, make Washington less competitive with other states and foreign countries.

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