Jun 18, 201506:36 PMBlog

Minimum Wage Task Force mulling options

Jun 18, 2015 - 06:36 PM

Currently, the city of Tacoma Minimum Wage Task Force is considering four alternatives to increase the minimum wage. 

The first alternative would increase the minimum wage to $12, immediately for big businesses to one year for everyone else.

The second option would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour phased in over one year for big businesses and five years for every other businesses.

The third option would increase the minimum wage to $10 immediately.

The fourth option would increase the minimum wage to $13, phased in over one year for big businesses and four years for everyone else.

Ideas for compliance and enforcement range from using administrative support followed by civil penalties for non-compliance to basing enforcement on state law. Depending on how complicated it becomes, a task force member suggested that Tacoma may need to establish an Office of Labor Standards.

Task force members are mixed on credits and exemptions. Some think there should be no exemptions, while others believe there should be exemptions for small businesses and small nonprofit organization. 

Other ideas include: 

  • Providing a "tip credit" for restaurant employees
  • Calculating medical/health benefits as well as paid sick days, vacation days and retirement programs into the equation
  • Providing businesses credits for first-time hires, trainees and interns, youth and chronically unemployed people
  • Remove collective bargaining units from the minimum wage ordinance
  • Exempt businesses that do not sell their products in Tacoma but export them out of the city
  • Provide credit for companies that incentivize full-time employment, such as making part-time positions into full-time positions for employees who want to work more hours
  • Protect tips by ensuring they go to employees


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