Blog

September 30 , 2020 - Emily Makings

In 2021, Washington’s minimum wage will increase to $13.69 and new overtime thresholds will be binding

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has announced that the state minimum wage next year will be $13.69. It is currently $13.50—the highest state minimum wage in the country. 2020 is the last step of the phase-in of I-1433, so 2021 is the first year in which the minimum wage is adjusted by inflation. […]


September 22 , 2020 - Emily Makings

State and local taxes in Washington have increased over the past several years compared to other states

The U.S. Census Bureau has released state and local government finance data for 2018. In Washington, state and local taxes increased by 10.4 percent over 2017. This includes property taxes, sales and gross receipts taxes, and motor vehicle license taxes. (For other states, it also includes income taxes.) To compare Washington’s taxes to other states, […]


September 15 , 2020 - Emily Makings

Workers’ compensation rates may hold steady next year

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has proposed that there be no average increase in workers’ compensation rates in 2021. The average rate declined in 2018, 2019, and 2020. According to L&I, “While financial projections point to the need for a significant increase to cover all of the costs for injuries and illnesses that […]


August 25 , 2020 - Kriss Sjoblom

Work sharing

Washington state is prominently featured in a Saturday New York Times article on “work sharing,” which is an unemployment insurance program that pays partial unemployment benefits to workers who have had their hours reduced. Work sharing programs are extraordinarily popular among economists, Republican and Democratic policymakers, employers and workers — at least those who have […]


August 14 , 2020 - Emily Makings

Gov. Inslee mandates paid leave for food production workers

Yesterday, Gov. Inslee issued a proclamation prohibiting “any food production employer from continuing to operate between August 18, 2020, and November 13, 2020, unless the food production employer . . . provides its workers . . . with emergency supplemental paid sick leave . . . for a qualifying event.” Washington’s regular paid sick leave […]


June 16 , 2020 - Emily Makings

Washington’s average wage was up 6.7 percent in 2019. This will affect several state programs.

The Employment Security Department (ESD) reports that Washington’s average annual wage increased to $69,000 in 2019. The average weekly wage increased from $1,255 in 2018 to $1,340 in 2019 (6.7 percent). Unemployment insurance (UI) taxes and benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, and paid family and medical leave benefits are all tied to the average weekly wage. […]


May 20 , 2020 - Kriss Sjoblom

Monthly Employment Report

The state Employment Security Department released its Monthly Employment Report for April this morning. According to preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state lost 527,000 jobs, net, seasonally adjusted (SA), from March to April. This estimate is based on BLS’s monthly survey of employers, which counts as employed all persons […]


May 14 , 2020 - Kriss Sjoblom

Fraudsters attack state unemployment insurance system

Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine today reported that the state unemployment insurance system has suffered a rash of fraudulent claims” Since the start of May – and particularly in the past week – the Employment Security Department has seen a significant rise in reports of impostor fraud. This is where bad actors have stolen […]


April 27 , 2020 - Emily Makings

Recapping last week: UI, federal aid, construction

Although initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims for the week of April 12–18 dropped in last week’s report from the Employment Security Department (ESD), they were still the fifth-highest in state history. Continuing claims increased to 523,126. Since March 1, arts, entertainment and recreation; construction; and accommodation and food services are still the sectors with the […]


April 08 , 2020 - Emily Makings

Payroll tax introduced in Seattle City Council

Seattle City Councilmembers Sawant and Morales have introduced three bills related to their effort to impose a new payroll tax in the city. First, CB 119772 would impose a 1.3 percent tax on the payroll expense of every person engaging in business in Seattle with an annual payroll of more than $7 million. Grocery businesses; […]