‘It’s just part of life’: Minimum wage up to $15.74 an hour in Washington in 2023

SPOKANE, Wash. — The minimum wage in Washington is going up $1.25 this January, rising to $15.74 an hour.

That might seem like a slight increase in pay, but it could cost small businesses a pretty penny to keep up with the raise.

“No I’m not worried about it,” Robert Hemphill, owner of Chicken-N-Mo in downtown Spokane, said. “It’s just part of life.”

Hemphill says he’s not bothered about wage increases, taxes and other outside variables that impact his bottom line.

“[I] pass it right along to the price of the food,” Hemphill said. “And the consumer doesn’t care. They are after your product, they’re not worried about the price so much.”

For Hemphill, he offsets higher wages by bumping the prices up on his menu.

“Passed right on to the consumer,” Hemphill said. “Every time we have a price height [or] taxes, we pass that cost right along to the consumer.”

Washington is one of the few states where employers must pay all employees at least the state minimum wage, regardless of how much they earn in tips.

For smaller businesses like Chicken-N-Mo, the pay increase won’t be that impacted. But if you take a business with 25 staff members making minimum wage, that’s a different story.

Companies will be shelling out an extra $31.25 an hour, $250 a day and $1,250 a week for their employees’ paychecks.

For employees, this is great news, particularly with the rising cost of living in cities like Spokane.

But if more businesses are thinking like Hemphill, consumers could expect to see their wallets a bit lighter when they go out in the town.

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