The Tri-City Herald recently reported on five “tycoons” who have taken an interest in the nation’s growing wage gap. While the five tycoons have different opinions on how the wage gap should be closed, they are all in agreement that something should be done. One of the five tycoons is Seattle’s Nick Hanauer. Hanauer believes a higher minimum wage is the easiest way to close the gap while creating greater demand and money for people to pay for products from companies like Microsoft and Amazon. Additionally, the Tri-City Herald’s article came out around the same time as
Gap Inc.’s announcement that it would raise the minimum hourly wage for its employees over the next two years. According to a New York Times article, Gap is joining the ranks of major US employers who are voluntarily taking steps to raise their wages while Congress and states debate raising their mandatory minimum wages as well.
Beginning this year, Gap employees will receive a minimum hourly wage of $9. That wage will increase to $10 next year. Gap’s wage increase is similar to the increase in its home state of California. One benefit of the wage increase, according to Gap’s chief executive officer (CEO), is that the retail chain can avoid having different starting minimum wages in each state. There are currently only a handful of states and cities with a minimum wage higher than $9 and even fewer who currently plan to have a minimum wage above $10 next year.
According to the Gap, the increase will affect around 65,000 employees across all of its brands across the US. Gap’s CEO said the wage increase is a show of support for and investment in its employees who support the business. Also, the higher wages will hopefully attract even more qualified individuals to work at the Gap and strengthen the company’s loyal workforce.
Wages And Employment
Washington’s minimum wage is $9.32 an hour, so Gap employees in Washington already receive more than the $9 wages set for this year. But because Washington’s minimum wage increases each year is based on the federal Consumer Price Index, it is unlikely that Washington’s minimum wage will reach $10 next year. This means that Gap’s starting wages will likely be higher than Washington’s next year, making Gap and its brands more attractive to job seekers. Starting or minimum wages are not necessarily the wage a person has to start with when they begin working for an employer. In many cases, employees can negotiate their starting wages based on their experience and skills. However, employees and employers cannot negotiate down from the minimum wage, even in exchange for
other benefits. Employers must pay at least the minimum wage, along with any earned overtime and holiday pay, or the prevailing wage for the industry. And employers are required to display posters explaining employee rights, including information on minimum wage.
If you believe you were denied proper wages, contacting an experienced Washington employment law attorney can help.